Cononley is a pretty little village in Yorkshire. Not far from Ilkley or Skipton it has one tiny shop-come- Post Office and two well used pubs. It hides under the radar, never getting into the news. Nobody famous resides there and nothing newsworthy ever happens. That’s why I live there. It’s perfectly quiet!
However, people from all around now flock to my village to witness its one and only festival. The Cononley Scarecrow Festival, where once a year nearly the whole village turns out to compete to win the priceless honour of being crowned Cononley scarecrow champion, and £10 prize money!!!
Now the village only staged its first scarecrow festival back in 2009 to celebrate the centenary of the Cononley Institute. A momentous event in our history! It was such a hit that it’s now an annual event attracting people from all over the country.
Each year the village decides on a theme. Last year’s was “Around the World in Scarecrows”, boasting 87 ‘straw creations’ that depicted countries as far away as the Gambia and Antarctica. The entries ranged from a 50 foot high scarecrow panda bear for China to a mobster scene for Italy!
This year the theme was ‘Royalty’ since Will and Kate’s wedding fell on the same weekend as our festival! Of course, entrants relating to Will and Kate were all over the village mixed in with a hairy vicar or two. However in my opinion, Prince Charles and his veggie box won the day. Have your pick of your favourite below…..
So Cononley is still a pretty little village in Yorkshire but now for one May bank holiday weekend a year it becomes a mini tourist hub. Next year we are probably having an Olympic themed festival and I am already planning a scarecrow equivalent of the Coxless Fours. So if you’re in the area or fancy an alternative weekend break pop along to Cononley! Our nearest Best Western is the Best Western Rombalds Hotel and Restaurant if you need somewhere to stay! Book soon as we are expecting in the region of 400 people next year!
By Jason Munslow