THE population of Leap is set to double from October 26th to November 3rd as the 250 residents in the village make way for 250 scarecrows.
‘They populate the village,’ said Rita Ryan, joint-chairperson of the Leap Scarecrow Festival, which is now entering its fifth year.
Rita and Margaret O’Neill, the other joint-chair, confirmed that the temporary residents are directly responsible for attracting thousands of visitors over the nine-day event.
‘The popularity of this festival cannot be over emphasised,’ said Rita, who said that 1,000 people visited Leap during the Bank Holiday weekend last year alone.
‘The appeal,’ she said, ‘is that it is suitable for all the family – from the youngest of children to the oldest of grandparents.
‘Lots of people also invest their time and money in making their own scarecrows and that helps to boost local interest as people turn up to see all of the other exhibits.’
The Leap Scarecrow Festival has become highly competitive in each of its seven prize-giving categories, which include: youth and schools, scariest, most humorous, the best family exhibit, most topical, plus the overall winner, and an additional prize for the best decorated premises.
Such is the interest in this festival that in the lead up to the launch a local man, Michael Greenlaw, organises workshops on how best to make a scarecrow.
High local demand has meant that an additional workshop will take place in the parish hall on Saturday between 11am and 1pm. All are welcome to attend.
Rita said: ‘None of this would be possible without the tremendous support of our sponsors. And it is important to note that all of the money raised over the nine days will be used for the creation of a picnic park.’