Saintly scarecrows to star in famous Dales festival

A group of Dales churches are celebrating their new start with saintly figures at this year’s Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival.

The popular festival draws huge crowds and is marking its 25th anniversary this year with an array of exciting new figures to be found around the village and mouth-watering food on offer from Saturday, August 10 to 18,

In Kettlewell’s St Mary’s Church, volunteers are busy creating a display with special meaning for this church and its near neighbours in Upper Wharfedale and Littondale.

The display will feature figures representing the saints associated with the four local churches – St Mary’s in Kettlewell, St Michael and All Angels at Hubberholme, St Oswald’s in Arncliffe and St Mary’s at Conistone.

The church in Kettlewell will also host figures of the United Kingdom’s national saints – St George, St Andrew, St David and St Patrick.

Earlier this year the four churches came together to form the new Parish of Upper Wharfedale and Littondale, having previously been in three parishes, though they all came under the Benefice of Upper Wharfedale.

Sue Nelson, senior sidesperson at St Mary’s Kettlewell, said: “We had to decide what we were going to do in church for the festival, and the main thing on our minds was the fact that we had just become one parish.

“So we thought, why not do the saints of our parish churches?”

That would have meant having only three figures, because St Mary is the saint for both the churches at Conistone and Kettlewell, so they decided to include the national saints as well.

The Scarecrow Festival attracts about 15,000 visitors each year and all the profits provide funds for Kettlewell School, St Mary’s Church, Kettlewell Village Hall and other local community projects.

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