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A date for your diary – Gracehill Village Heritage Open Day & Scarecrow Festival – Saturday 8th September 2018. The scarecrows will also stay on view on Sunday 9th. Full details below.
“Something” or maybe ” someone” very unusual will be lurking in the beautifully designed Village of Gracehill near Ballymena on Saturday 8th September, 2018 and will also remain to view on Sunday 9th! As part of the Heritage Open Day, when the very unique buildings in this Moravian Village will be open to the public from 1pm – 5pm, something very special is happening. Hidden behind trees, hanging out of windows or peeping from hidden doorways will be a plethora of characters never before seen around this very old Village built in the 1700s!
Walking around the square is wonderful at any time, but it will be a completely different experience this year! The Moravian Settlement, now known as Gracehill, was born more than 250 years ago. It was meticulously planned around a perfect square and retains its character today. The fine original stone buildings, green lanes and orchards, quiet Burial Ground known as God’s Acre, Museum and square with its pond and proud oak trees and unassuming but historically important Church, combine to create a unique and wonderful Village, where all year round, visitors can be seen wandering around learning about the Moravian way of life from the experienced local guides who conduct tours.
The Heritage Open Day allows visitors the opportunity to wander around the pond, see inside the buildings, including the Church. Also to visit the original Village Store, the beautiful Single Sisters’ House, now a private residence, and the old School House, which now hosts a Museum, complete with the original schoolroom. There is so much to see and learn as you wander at leisure between the avenue of ancient trees in God’s Acre and walk through history as you read the headstones, telling their own stories. As if this is not a memorable enough experience, this year will have another dimension.
The Village Church along with the Gracehill Environmental Committee are organising a Scarecrow Festival over the two days, involving the local and wider community in making Scarecrows of all shapes and sizes. For more than 3,000 years farmers have been making Scarecrows. The first Scarecrows recorded were along the River Nile to protect the fields of wheat from flocks of quail. The farmers would put wooden frames in the ground and cover them with nets. Scarecrows in one form or another were known to be used in Greek, Roman and Japanese cultures. In Medieval Britain there were 9 year old boys who patrolled the wheat fields carrying bags of stones to throw at the birds.
There will be a map of the Village with an accompanying Trail to help find where these amazing “visitors” will be hiding out! There will also be an anagram to work out and prizes for the three best Scarecrows as judged by the public. Teas and delicious homemade cakes will be available to enjoy also. Anyone wanting to build a Scarecrow should complete a registration form. Registration forms are available from the Old School House or online here.
This will be a truly unique experience for adults and children alike. Who knows, we may meet anyone from The Wizard of Oz to Willy Wonka ! And keep a special eye out for our very own live scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz!
Love life, my family & good coffee shops. Enjoy walking and being at the seaside. Hate prawns!
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