For a long time I thought there was nothing cooler than glow worms. They’re bright, they live in caves, their soft-toy likenesses wear jaunty night-hats. But while researching where I could go to visit these fun little guys, I stumbled upon something which could be even cooler—the Annual Tamborine Mountain Scarecrow Festival.
The festival is, as its name suggests, a celebration of all things scarecrow. Running for a weekend in October each year, it is an opportunity for locals to get creative and embrace the idea of sharing their town with stick-people. In 2012, over 200 stiff and angled figures stood proudly along a 14 kilometre walking trail (which can also be driven if you want to maximise your scarecrow-spotting time). The scarecrows are in place by Friday noon for the early birds (yes, I just said that), and for the next three days the town is overrun by straw-filled bodies poking out of shop windows, lounging in garden beds, or propping up the local bar. I can’t tell you how many strangers I smiled at politely before I realised they weren’t real (even more disturbing was when one of them came to life and kindly offered me directions—some people take their love of the day to an entirely new level).
Entrants try to outdo each other with their creations to compete for prizes in various categories, and the visitors are the ones who benefit. I saw cowboys and mermaids and cartoon characters in 3D form. Some terrifying rag-dolls with maniacal smiles or serial-killer masks. There was a life-sized straw Psy, because scarecrows love Gangnam Style too. My vote for best entry though went to the Doctor and his Tardis, because if there’s a more delightful combination than sci-fi and straw, I don’t know what it is. If you fancy yourself a bit of a scarecrow builder yourself, you’ll be pleased to hear that you don’t have to be a local to enter—everyone is welcome! Keep an eye on the website for details on how to register.
For non-scarecrow enthusiasts (if even such a person exists) there is plenty else to see and do. The festival includes live entertainment during the day—with a variety of singers, dancers, and buskers—and a proper bush dance on the Saturday night. Local artists display their work, and there are face-painters for the kids (or fearless adults). Besides the festival itself, visitors are still able to enjoy the year-round delights that Mount Tamborine has to offer. Wineries, antique shops, art galleries. The Gallery Walk has shops filled with crafts, collectables and so much food. I ate seven different cheeses and five types of fudge and wasn’t even sorry.
The celebration only began in 2008, but reports are it keeps getting better and better every year. The 6th Annual Tamborine Mountain Scarecrow Festival will be held on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th, Sunday 20th October 2013, and my prediction is that it will be fabulous. Take the time to check it out—I can guarantee there won’t be a crow in sight.