CROWING CREATION: Local weaving artist Rene Bahloo shows off her cats claw creation at one  of her workshops
CROWING CREATION: Local weaving artist Rene Bahloo shows off her cats claw creation at one of her workshops Contributed

Clawing back Valley with scary help of 'crows'

STONE the crows, it's not pesky crop-eating birds the Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival is out to spook this year but creeping cats claw.

An eco-friendly addition to the festival, which sees all sorts of creative figures line the roadways around the valley, will be scarecrows made out of the nasty invasive pest vine.

Residents have until October 1 to build their scarecrow entries, which gives people an opportunity to channel country humour into humanoid form.

Harvesting the woody fibre helps revive local vegetation, while making scarecrows has historically been a cue for local bird life to leave farmers' crops alone.

The festival runs from October 1 to November 10 and entries need to be registered and displayed by October 1 to be judged.

A $100 prize is on offer in the traditional and artistic categories, as well as cats claw, with $50 for the children's category (five to 15 years).

The scarecrow festival has been held for more than 15 years and is great fodder for 'crow spotting, the fun game for visitors who travel country roads looking for straw creatures, arty sculptures and other creations honouring the tradition of building scarecrows.

There's a map to lead you down country roads and discover new places and it's a great excuse to pack a picnic and tour through Mary Valley country.

The locals will tell you that it's all about fun. A few 'crows have a distinct purpose in life, carrying on as their forebears did, protecting crops by scaring away the birds. But others are just there to dress up the paddocks and maybe even share the wry humour of the country folk who live in the Mary Valley. It's how they deal with the seasons of country life - flood, drought and everything in between.

You usually have the bones of a scarecrow in the shed - a broomstick, bale of hay and some old clothes.

The scarecrow map will be uploaded to Google in the first week of October, so you can plan your self-drive tour.

Inquiries to info@mary valleyartslink.com.au.


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