THE scarecrows are coming out to play in the Mary Valley again this year.
After a couple of years in the wild, word has it that these straw creatures are grouping in the hills, preparing to invade the valley from its higher reaches in Conondale, all the way down through Kenilworth to Dagun and Lagoon Pocket.
The best way to prepare for this invasion is to join them!
Straw people climbing trees, surfing, even selling pineapples are expected to pop up throughout the Mary Valley.
This year the scarecrow activity will centre itself around the villages of the valley, giving both train and car passengers a wonderful day out scarecrow spotting.
The festival is designed to tap into the creative talents of all age groups, and fantastic cash prizes are available in each town - $50 for first place, $25 second and $15 third.
If your 'crow wins in your town, it becomes eligible to be judged against winners from other towns for one of three Mary Valley champion awards, which include $100 cash and a trophy.
Town prizes and the champion awards will be presented in three categories - traditional, artistic, and children (five-15 years).
Scarecrow season kicks off on August 16 and will finish up on October 4 with a "closing ceremony", including a huge bonfire and a spectacular laser light show.
The festival is a joint effort between community groups in Dagun, Amamoor, Kandanga, Imbil, Kenilworth, Conondale and Crystal Waters.
Organisers see it as good clean fun and encourage all groups, businesses, schools and residents to join in to create a scarecrow and have it on display.
Spokeswoman Kaili Parker-Price said the underlying benefit of the scarecrow season was the coming together of the communities of the Mary Valley to put on a show for the wider region.
"This scarecrow trail is built on jolly good fun, it has no other agenda," Mrs Parker-Price said.
"These communities need to increase tourist traffic, and what better way to spend a weekend afternoon than with a lazy drive through a picturesque river valley chasing some quirky looking characters!"
The scarecrow season has been timed to coincide with iconic events in the Mary Valley - the Toyota Country Music Muster, Mary Valley Show, and Kenilworth arts festival.
Registration is essential to be eligible for judging, and costs just $5 per adult entry, and $2 per child.
For further information contact Kandanga visitor information centre on (07) 5488 4605, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphics to the right:
DAGUN FAVOURITE: This scarecrow caught a lot of people by surprise as they drove into Dagun during a previous festival.
BIG GIRL: The unique straw bale scarecrow christened "Heidi" by her creator Narelle Harvey, in the 2004 scarecrow season.
FLOWER POWER: Award-winning Imbil entry by resident Jill Skea.
Mary Valley, Not Assigned
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