By Cllr Tony Griffiths, mayor of Bradley Stoke.
It is with great excitement that Bradley Stoke Town Council invites the schools, businesses and residents of Bradley Stoke, to participate in a new community event that the town council will be hosting during the October half-term.
Each school is invited to create a scarecrow to display during the holiday. The idea is to give families an affordable day out, where there is no entrance fee for schools to pay. However, we expect businesses and residents to pay a £10 entrance fee to build their very own scarecrow.
It may be something an art club would be able to participate in, or even just teachers, residents and businesses, in the hope of bringing joy and competition to the local Bradley Stoke town community.
During late August and early September, we will start advertising the event and invite residents, and local organisations to enter and create a scarecrow. Basic instructions on how to construct one will be supplied.
Once all the entries are in (21st September), we will create a map highlighting the route for people to follow. These will be sold around our various sites, to be announced later, for £1.
The event is similar to the ‘Wallace & Gromit’ trail’ and scarecrow trails which have been very successful in other neighbouring towns. On the rear of the map will be space for entrants to fill in the answers to questions during the scarecrow trail and enter a prize draw.
There will be several prizes including £100 for best scarecrow, and other categories to vote against by the scarecrow committee, with cash prizes.
During the lockdown all community events were cancelled or deferred, so we have tried to ensure that we do something understanding the issues many people are experiencing during this pandemic. The plus with this event is that it is held outdoors so people can observe social distancing rules should we have another lockdown.
The theme for this year’s scarecrow trail is ‘Famous Witches and Wizards’. It is the perfect time of year to create the atmosphere leading up to Halloween and, hopefully, the town’s firework display in November.
This year we are only allowing 47 scarecrows and once an entry form is filled in, you will be allocated your character and a clue/question to identify the character, which will need to be positioned near the scarecrow.
The closing date for entries has been set to be four weeks prior to the start of the trail, giving us time to produce the map, get it printed and get it to the sales outlets.
We will be asking supportive shops and other venues such as Bradley Stoke Library to help sell the maps on our behalf.
Prizes, trail competition and ‘just for fun’ quiz
Scarecrow-makers can win one of nine prizes. Trail-followers vote for winners in the following categories: Adult’s Favourite, Children’s Favourite and Funniest. In each category, first prize is £100, second prize is £50, and third prize is £25. Scarecrow-makers cannot win more than one prize.
We will also have a trail competition and trail-followers with the correct answer have the chance to win £50.
In addition, there is a ‘just for fun quiz”. Each trail maker provides a question about their scarecrow which people can answer as they visit each scarecrow.
We hope to recruit two or three businesses to sponsor the prizes and in return have their logo on the trail map. They would also be mentioned on the front sheet of the map along with other organisations that support the trail, i.e. the shops that sell the maps on our behalf, and establishments who have toilet facilities.
As mentioned above, there will be a charge of just £1 for a map as one aim of our trail is to provide an affordable day out for people. The shops that collect the money on our behalf will do so in charity-style boxes which will be picked up regularly throughout the week.
As we do not have public conveniences, we will be relying on supportive pubs in the town allowing participants to use their facilities. Locations of the toilets will be printed on the maps. We will ask permission from the landlords before doing this and hope they will benefit from people buying food and drink.
Event timings and prize presentation
The trail starts at 9am on the first Saturday and finishes at 4pm on the second Sunday. Apart from the last Sunday, we would ask that scarecrows, their signs and the ‘just for fun quiz’ questions are out daily from 9am until dusk.
The prize presentations and draw for the winner of the trail competition will take place between 6 and 6.30pm on the Sunday evening. This event will be held in one of our town centre locations.
We will do an initial count of the votes to date on the Friday before the close of the event and then a count of any further votes on the Sunday. With the trail finishing at 4pm, it would be a bit of a mad rush to get the votes all counted in time, so we will be in need four or five volunteers to help.
We will take photographs of each of the scarecrows, this also acts as confirmation that trail followers have found the correct location for a scarecrow.
Afterwards, we will give the scarecrow-makers an A4 copy of the photo of their scarecrow as a little ‘thank you’.
All proceeds will go towards the two mayor’s charities, Great Western Air Ambulance and Next Link, so I hope it will be supported for these two worthwhile charities.
To register as a scarecrow-maker, download an entry form from the Scarecrow Trail page on the Bradley Stoke Town Council website. Entries close on Friday 18th September 2020.
• View a a larger version of the Scarecrow Trail poster [PDF]
This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 14 & 15). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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