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Gracehill gets ready for Scarecrow Festival

Shauna Loughran

Reporter:

Shauna Loughran

GRACEHILL will be hosting a Scarecrow Festival in the village on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9.

The unique attraction is running as part of the Heritage Open Day, when buildings dating back to the 1700s in the Moravian Village will be open to the public from 1pm - 5pm.

The Village Church along with Gracehill Environmental Committee are organising a Scarecrow Festival over the two days, involving everyone within the local and wider community in making Scarecrows of all shapes and sizes.

Hidden behind trees, hanging out of windows or peeping from hidden doorways will be a plethora of characters never before seen around this very old Village.

Walking around the square is wonderful at any time, but it will be a completely different experience this year!

For more than 3,000 years farmers have been making Scarecrows.

The first Scarecrows recorded were along the River Nile to protect the fields of wheat from flocks of quail.

The farmers would put wooden frames in the ground and cover them with nets.

Scarecrows in one form or another were known to be used in Greek, Roman and Japanese cultures, and in Medieval Britain they were nine year old boys who patrolled the wheat fields carrying bags of stones to throw at the birds.

There will be a map of the Village with an accompanying Trail to help find where theses amazing 'visitors' will be hiding out!

There will also be an anagram to work out and prizes for the three best Scarecrows as judged by the public.

Teas and delicious homemade cakes will be available to enjoy also.

This will be a truly unique experience for adults and children alike when, who knows, we may meet anyone from The Wizard of Oz to Willy Wonka !

And be sure to keep a special eye out for Gracehill's very own live scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz!

The Moravian Settlement, now known as Gracehill, was born more than 250 years ago.

It was meticulously planned around a perfect square and retains its character until today.

The fine original stone buildings, green lanes and orchards, quiet Burial Ground known as God's Acre, Museum and square with its pond and proud oak trees and unassuming but historically important Church, combine to create a unique and wonderful Village, where all year round visitors can be seen wandering around learning about the Moravian way of life from the experienced local guides who conduct tours.

The Heritage Open Day allows visitors the opportunity to wander around the pond, see inside the buildings, including the Church, the original Village Store, the beautiful Single Sisters' House, now a private residence, and the old School House, which now hosts a Museum, complete with the original schoolroom.

Anyone wanting to build a Scarecrow should complete a registration form which are available from the Old School House or by logging on to www.gracehillvillage.org/

moravian-church.

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