No monkey business at the Scarecrow Festival

Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Hay fever season has well and truly taken over one Irish village. Durrow in Co Laois is preparing to host its ninth Scarecrow Festival this year and is hoping once again to attract entries from far and wide.

The event originates from the harvest festival that was always a stalwart feature on the village's calendar and has been growing year on year.

A highlight of the festival, which will take place from July 29 to August 6, is the All-Ireland Scarecrow Championships. Competition categories range from 'Most Topical' and 'Most Humorous' to youth and pre-school categories.

Conaghy Vintage Club from Co Kilkenny have taken home the top overall prize for the last three years in a row, with revellers being blown away by their gigantic King Kong creation in 2017.

Emer O'Brien, the organiser of the competition, says the King Kong shows just how quirky the entries they receive can be.

"It was absolutely massive. My child stood beside it and felt absolutely lost," she says.

Entries range from all ages, and Emer urged those who think they might have a creative idea to apply.

"We get entries from everyone. We once had a UK entry. Usually they're from community groups or clubs but a lot of the time they're from brothers, sisters and cousins who come together," she says.

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Another surprise aspect of this year's festival includes the Scarecrow Electric Picnic - no straw has been left unturned in its organisation.

"One local group in Durrow decided to come together to replicate Electric Picnic. It's top secret, we don't know anything about it, but it should be interesting," says Emer.

If the scarecrow competition sounds like too much work for you but you still want to get the creative juices flowing, the round hay bale competition could be right up your alley.

"All you have to do is get a hay bale, dress it up and come with an idea that sets it apart from the rest," says Emer.

Entry form

To take part in any of the competitions all you have to do is download the online entry form on the festival's website and email or post it as the crow flies!

Other highlights of the event include arts and craft fairs, food stalls, an African drumming workshop and an exciting duck derby event.

There's also plenty of activities for young scarecrow enthusiasts including a fairy door workshop, a playground and a teen zone.

All entries for the festival must be submitted by Friday, July 20, so get your straw thinking caps on!

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