Free events and family fun at Stratford’s first Community Scarecrow Festival!

FROM SHERLOCK Holmes to a Very Hungry Caterpillar, some of the best-loved characters from the world of fiction will be popping up all over the riverside in Stratford-upon-Avon at the end of April.

It’s all part of a new community initiative happening over the Shakespeare Birthday Celebration Weekend – April 27th & April 28th.

In the town’s first ever Community Scarecrow Festival, charities, groups, schools, families and businesses have been invited to get creative and get busy building their very own scarecrows to celebrate the wonderful world of literature.

Expect to see Cogsworth Clock, Stickman and The Famous Five all standing proud in a giant scarecrow display – inspired by books and plays – on the Bancroft Gardens over the weekend.

And of course, Shakespeare hasn’t been forgotten in the annual celebration of Stratford’s most famous son – there will be scarecrow Hamlets and sculpted Macbeth witches too!

The festival is being organised by Escape Arts and by Stratford Town Trust – which has been distributing funding to support the scarecrow makes.

Entry has been free and open to all – with a £100 prize set to be awarded for the most creative scarecrow when the judges announce the winner at 4pm on the Sunday.

As well as the chance to see the community scarecrows on display over the weekend, there will be a host of free, themed activities happening too.

These include:

Scarecrow Crafts – get creative by making your own little scarecrows out of recycled materials to take home!

Community Art Builds – join professional artists creating large scale scarecrows including recycled sculpture artists Ros Ingram and Ali Allen, who will be making Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. Willow artist Spencer Jenkins will be making Neptune.

Children’s crafts and storytelling – on Sunday the festival welcomes Kate’s Storytree for tales and making, with pop-up music performances over the weekend too.

Karen Williams, Artistic Director of Escape Arts, said: “It promises to be a great, fun community event, something really new for the Shakespeare Birthday Weekend. It’s about highlighting this fondly remembered rural tradition in a real celebration of our favourite characters from books and plays. We’re sure Shakespeare would have approved!

“Whether you’ve made a scarecrow or not, please visit during the weekend to join in with our free events and to let us know your favourite creations. We will be just in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, or simply follow the trail of straw…”