The organiser of a town’s first ever scarecrow festival has announced the event will return next year following its huge success.

A total of 240 people turned out between Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, to spot all 38 straw-stuffed designs created by participants across Epping.

Visitors arrived at the Market Garden Terrace on Epping High Street to meet volunteers of gardening society, Epping in Bloom and collect their maps listing the scarecrows locations.

Victoria Robertson, chairman of Epping in Bloom, said the debut event went ‘better than expected’.

“It was absolutely brilliant,” she said. “it was so lovely to see the children happy, we were able to engage with them in the garden and do a variety of growing activities.

“I knew it was going to be a fun factor appeal for children and we used to do lots of competitions across schools, but over time we have got busier with looking after garden and spaces we look after and this has helped make children more aware of gardening.

“The feedback has been brilliant and defiantly going to have this as an annual event.”

After receiving support from the Epping in Bloom team and members of Epping Town Council, Mrs Robertson’s idea finally became a reality over the weekend.

Several businesses drew inspiration for their designs by using materials and colours representing their trade, from Ongar Dairy in Winter’s Wood to Epping Railway station on Charles Street.

A total of £320 was raised from ticket sales and donations for the gardening club, which will go towards funding a new picnic area.

“We hope within the next three to four weeks to install some new benches, a shelter and hopefully a sensory activities area for children to play with on the wall of the garden,” explained Mrs Roberston.

“My hope is that other towns and villages will set their scarecrow festival’s up because I think it’s great for families and also their health and wellbeing.

“Sowing that seed from a young age means they will respect the garden eventually one day become the future volunteers for Epping in Bloom.”

The winner of this year’s scarecrow festival is yet to be announced, with votes due to be counted on Thursday evening.

The winner will be announced on Friday, June 14, who will be presented with a foot-tall trophy.

To register for next year’s Scarecrow Festival email