A West Cork village has had to warn visitors about its scarecrow festival after a motorist mistook one of the mannequins for a person in distress.

There are well over 100 scarecrows dotted around the village of Leap for this week’s Scarecrow Festival, and hundreds of passers-by are pulling in to view the variety of lifelike creations on show.

Some of the creative additions introduced to the village in recent weeks include a man built from branches brandishing a chainsaw, a Tim Burton-inspired Jack Skellington and his Corpse Bride, and a good witch and her pet cat.

However, not everyone has got into the spirit of the festival, and a scarecrow lying with his head in the ground prompted concerns, according to Kathleen Woumans of the Leap Development Committee.

“There were people who called into one of the locals here to say there was a man in distress by the side of the road,” she said.

The Scarecrow Festival has become a traffic stopper, meaning extra business for the village of Leap.
The Scarecrow Festival has become a traffic stopper, meaning extra business for the village of Leap.

“We decided to put up signs on the roads coming into the village after that to let people know there is a scarecrow festival going on.”

Ms Woumans said that the festival was initiated by the committee with a view to bringing the local community together, but that it has surpassed their expectations as schools, businesses and clubs continue to introduce new scarecrows to the village in recent weeks.

“A few started it, when others saw that it was a bit of fun they got involved and now everyone has got into it,” she said.

Ger O’Sullivan, Toni McDermott and Kathleen Woumans
Ger O’Sullivan, Toni McDermott and Kathleen Woumans

The committee counted 136 scarecrows last Saturday, but more have gone up since. Ms Woumans said they now believe there to be more than 150 scarecrows on display in a village with a population of 240, according to the last census figures. The Foroige youth club alone has contributed 12 scarecrows.

The village lies on the N71 road, which runs from Cork City through Clonakilty and Rosscarbery to Skibbereen and Bantry. Many on the route are now taking the time to stop in Leap to view the attractions on show.

Ciara Cronin with her scarecrow mermaid welcoming visitors to the small West Cork village.
Ciara Cronin with her scarecrow mermaid welcoming visitors to the small West Cork village.

“It really has brought smiles to people’s faces and life to the village,” Ms Woumans said. “We’ve never had so many strangers in the village but they are stopping off for a look.

“We are seeing more and more scarecrows go up everyday, everyone has got caught up in the wave of it. All the businesses, schools and clubs seem to have put one up.”

The festival is set to run until this weekend, and prizes will be awarded to scarecrow creators across a variety of categories.

Some of the scarecrow creations are a delicate balancing act.
Some of the scarecrow creations are a delicate balancing act.

The Halloween events culminate with a barn dance and fancy dress party in aid of the school and play school.


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