AN outdoor family festival is making its annual outing in York this weekend for the sixteenth time.

The Haxby and Wigginton Scarecrow Festival returns from today (May 4) and runs until Bank Holiday Monday, May 6.

Martyn Dolman, one of the organisers, paid tribute to locals who make, dress and display their works for the public to view on the five scarecrow trails fanning out from Haxby and Wigginton Methodist Church in The Village, Haxby, which hosts the festival.

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Martyn said: “Everybody who does one is creative in the way that I am absolutely not, so for me, the majority are highlights.

“One which got the most comments a year or so ago was from a local plumber who put his on the roof of his garage.

“Of course, when anyone went up to take a closer look, it squirted water at them.

“Needless to say, children who were asked for their favourite on the trail gave that one top marks.”

There are 127 scarecrows in the final list for this year, which is an increase on last year’s edition which featured plenty of coronation-inspired entries, although there is usually no theme.

The inspiration for the fundraising project – which has raised over £50,000 - came after a family visit to a sister church in South Africa.

Martyn said: “The teenage girl in that family witnessed abject poverty in the townships around Cape Town and wanted to do something.

“On their way back home, passing through Lancashire’s communities, she saw some scarecrows and was inspired.”

Half of the proceeds in the first few years were sent to South Africa, with all current donations going to beneficiaries in the UK, Martyn said.

In 2024, the monies raised during the festival will support YIKs All About Autism, OSCAR’s PBTC, Wilberforce Trust and British Red Cross.

Trail maps are £3 each, or all five for £12 and are on sale from Haxby and Wigginton Methodist Church from 10am to 4.30pm during the festival, with scarecrows on show from 10am to 7.30pm.