At the weekend we visited the Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival. The festival is well-known locally and takes part in Belbroughton, a pretty North Worcestershire village, every year. For the weekend the whole village is given over to the Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival and a high proportion of villagers take part by making a scarecrow or manning the stalls, etc. Each year there is a different theme for the scarecrows.
We parked up (for free) in a field on the edge of the village and walked in from there. For over two hours we strolled around the streets looking at the scarecrows we saw. This year’s theme was what made Britain great. There were some recurrent themes here: Winston Churchill and the Queen (plus some of her relatives) popped up all over the village. There were quite a few with a military theme too including this tank one that H thought was the best.
Another motif that lots of people had identified was drinking tea or afternoon tea. I think this tea party scene was my favourite. Just wish it had all been real and available to eat (although there were some wonderful looking, real cakes for sale elsewhere in Belbroughton village).
Surprisingly it proved to be quite an educational experience for H. He was keen to know what the scarecrows represented and how they related to the theme of what made Britain great. This proved a bit challenging at times, but I think he learnt a lot. I found myself on safe ground with Winston Churchill and Sir Isaac Newton. My history was put to the test by Robert Louis Stevenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. H learnt about the role of women during the war and about the dambusters raid.
Some of the other scarecrows were on less safe ground. For instance, not everyone would agree with Margaret Thatcher being included. I did think Alan Sugar an odd choice and I’m not sure I’ve have picked out Posh and Becks for my scarecrow if I lived in the village. Some were downright odd, including this scarecrow leg that I had a devil of a job trying to explain to H.
What I thought was interesting was that a number of people had gone for cultural references like food and drink or the British weather. British culture isn’t something that I often think to talk to H about and I guess we tend to learn it by assimilation over the years. We had some chats about how tea was kind of national drink and how the British are well-known for their love of tea. H remarked that tea can be a meal and a drink and he thought this was quite funny. Fish and chips was another theme that came up quite a few times and I think this was my favourite take on our national dish.
I also liked one stretch where neighbouring houses seemed to have got together with a sub theme. Mary Quant was in this stretch with a focus on the sixties. George Best appeared next door and Christine Keeler at the next (I didn’t attempt to explain her to H). The Beatles were climbing up one of the pubs nearby.
We just popped into the Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival for a couple of hours to walk around, but you could easily make a day of it. I would recommend parking on the edge of the village and would avoid trying to drive through the central streets. If the weather is good the afternoons will be particularly busy, so you might want to get there early to escape the worst of the crowds. I’d advise against trying to push a buggy or pram around during the busiest times. Also, children sitting low down in buggies might not be able to see all the scarecrows.
Belbroughton is well-known locally for its pubs and their food, so there are plenty of options available and many outside stalls set up to cater for the extra demand. If you prefer, you could have a picnic on the village green. You can also go to various activities in certain fields and halls, some of which you need to pay to enter. We didn’t try these because we only planned to stay a couple of hours. Parking and walking around to see the scarecrows is free though and the Belbroughton Scarecrow Festival makes for a great family day out.