A walk around the annual Scarecrow festival in Muston is as good a way as any of taking the temperature of the nation. What people have chosen to make gives a snapshot of what is on the minds of the village just now and from what I saw they are feeling pretty good about themselves. After some triumphant sporting sucesses this summer there are plenty of sporting heroes on show. A Yorkshire cricketing hero, two British Tour de France winners in a row and our first men’s Wimbledon champion for 77 years are all celebrated. The new royal prince and his father also make an appearance, as does Richard III whose body was found recently. It’s as much a homespun victory parade as a scarecrow festival. With a new Doctor Who to be revealed at the end of the festival week we also get daleks and cybermen and Matt Smith. It’s all great fun.
I think what I like most about the festival is the quirky unexpected nature of some of the exhibits. There is no agenda here. There is a competition but people simply make what they feel like making. Allow people free rein to produce a piece of folk art of their own and some of them are going to surprise you. It also makes sure that the festival will have a truly local feel- you couldn’t be anywhere else but Yorkshire! Coming across Al Capone threatening a terrified person in a bed which also contains a horse’s head is bizarre enough to make you smile. His effigy stands out on the street among Peppa Pig, Peter Rabbit, Clowns, and plenty more general randomness. There are lots of children to be seen walking around among the crowds but they are not the only ones who are enjoying themselves. I am glad that the weather has been kind this year. There should be more of this kind of unashamed, uncomplicated creativity around for us all to enjoy. Thank you Muston!