Every August Bank Holiday two things happen in Pendle. The Colne Blues Festival and The Higham Scarecrow Festival. So just a head’s up, if you were planning on visiting Pendle – August is probably the month to do it.
The Blues is a Pendle tradition and attract acts from all over the world – if you live in the region you’ve probably seen it on the news at some point.
I didn’t go to The Blues this year, but I did go to the Higham Scarecrow Festival. If you are reading this outside the UK and want to visit a quintessentially English village during one of its quirky fêtes, this is the blog post for you.
The premise is pretty simple, the residents of Higham are given a theme, this year it was ‘Holidays and Travel’ and construct scarecrows that represent it (there are generally about 60 households taking part, then a few extra scarecrows added by the village committee). Villagers and visitors can then buy a map from the village hall (for £2.00-ish), and an ice-cream from the famous Slater’s Ice Cream truck, before heading out. To say the village is reasonably small, the trail can take a while but the various displays are enough to keep the kids entertained. For every scarecrow you find, you jot down what it is depicting and hand in your completed map at the end to hopefully win a prize. You also get to vote for which one is your favourite – this element was particularly relevant this year, as my sister was competing.
Having recently moved to Higham she had spent the last few months constructing a life-size dragon in our cellar, getting it perfect for the big reveal. Now I’ve typed that out, I realise having a bright pink dragon in the cellar of a family home probably isn’t the most mundane of things, but hey ho. (Just in case the dragon and lanterns didn’t give it away – she went with China.)
Along with the scarecrows there is lunch available in the village hall, tea and scones, a fun fair and a second hand book fair in the church, just in case Waltzers aren’t your thing.
All of the proceeds from the festival are put back into the village and the upkeep of the church. Higham also got bonus points this year for the amount of Schnauzers pottering about (though admittedly most put my scruffy pup to shame)
As well as the Scarecrows and small dogs, the main street (especially the area surrounding the main hall) host stalls from local market sellers with wares that range from fruit and homemade jam to miniature scarecrows and potted plants. FYI it’s worth checking out the stalls selling home-made jam just to see some of the mindboggling concoctions the maker has dreamt up.
If you’re involved in the village there is also a Scarecrow Ball in the following weeks. All very Midsummer Murders (just without the murders, touch wood.)
If you’re in the area next year, and need to keep kids (or grandparents) entertained I would definitely recommend sticking this in your diary.