Village ‘taken over’ by E.T. and Daleks for scarecrow festival

Village ‘taken over’ by E.T. and Daleks for scarecrow festival
The Wray Scarecrow Festival sees sculptures installed throughout the village (John Gordon/PA)

A village in Lancashire has been taken over by popular sci-fi figures replicated in scarecrow form, including E.T. and the Daleks from Doctor Who.

Wray Scarecrow Festival returned on Saturday and sees those in the community pay homage to sci-fi characters as per the theme of the event this year, with more than 50 installations.

John Gordon, 72, one of the organisers, told the PA news agency: “There are quite a few E.T.s around – on the bike, of course.

ScarecrowOne of the scarecrows at the festival (John Gordon/PA)

“We’ve got a number of Daleks, characters from Star Wars, and there’s an amazing one from Planet Of The Apes.

“There’s a scene where there’s a huge, big black monolith and the ape standing in front of it with a bone in his hand… it must stand three metres tall.”

He said some animated scarecrows have also been made, including a Dalek.

He said the offerings have all been a surprise as “people don’t tell anybody else what they’re up to” and the village “really throws itself into it”.

Monolith and apeOne scarecrow depicts a scene from Planet Of The Apes (John Gordon/PA)

Mr Gordon added: “There was one person in the village who said he had his family eating yoghurts for two weeks so they could get the yoghurt pots so they could stick them on to a Dalek.”

He said the idea for the theme came from someone from the voluntary scarecrow committee who “threw the idea” out to fellow members who thought it sounded “great”.

The committee is made up of locals of different ages, many of whom have full-time jobs.

ContraptionA number of Daleks ‘invaded’ the village for the event (John Gordon/PA)

Mr Gordon and his wife have even got in on the action.

He said: “Remember the film Mars Attacks? Well we’ve got one of the Martians at the foot of our drive.

“At one point (in the movie), the Martian comes down and zaps the American president and turns him into a skeleton, and we have a fluorescent green skeleton beside our Martian.”

Scarecrow and toy skeletonJohn Gordon’s own scene was inspired by the movie Mars Attacks! (John Gordon/PA)

He said “a lot of time” was spent making the cloak, as well as using modelling clay to construct a brain across the top of the head of the scarecrow.

The festival – which began in roughly 1992 – has an origin story as quirky as the scarecrows on offer each year.

“It’s been running for over 20 years and it started off by accident,” Mr Gordon said.

Dalek scarecrowA Dalek awaits Doctor Who outside the Tardis (John Gordon/PA)

“One of our people who lives in the village here had gone to France one year on holiday and they were driving through some rural area and they saw what they thought was a man hanging off a tree and they were a bit worried about that, so they went into the local village to see what was happening and they noticed there was a scarecrow stuck on a bar outside the local pub.

“Wray is a very old traditional village and its had a May fair for centuries and they thought it would be a nice idea to add this to the May fair, so they persuaded one or two people to make scarecrows and it just took off from that.

ET scarecrowE.T. was a popular choice for this year’s installations (John Gordon/PA)

“It was a momentary flash of brilliance.”

Despite community being at the heart of the event, people come from across the UK to attend, with some years seeing thousands of people flock to the village.

Alien looking creatureSci-fi was the theme for this year’s event (John Gordon/PA)

The festival runs until May 6, culminating with a traditional May fair, with other entertainment on offer for attendees including a giant scarecrow parade on May 3.

The events are run by the Wray Institute, a registered charity, with money raised being used to provide free use of its premises to a range of voluntary organisations, such as the Scouts, as well as supporting other local causes like the community owned and run village store.

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