Joe`s Scarecrow Theatre
Although it closed in 2011, one of the most bizarre attractions on the Trail, near Cheticamp, was Joe`s Scarecrow Village, also known as Joe`s Scarecrow Theatre. A large collection of life-size scarecrows attired in various costumes, and many bearing masks of famous characters, stood or sat in a field gazing out at the passing tourists. Rather than being terrified, the crows seemed to find the whole thing quite amusing!
The Village was started by Joe Delaney, a retired school janitor who planted a vegetable garden on his property in 1984. Delaney and his sons built three colourful scarecrows to deter birds and wild animals and the next day found that people were stopping to take photographs. This inspired Delaney to create more scarecrows and by the time the Village closed there were well over 100.
At the end of the 1986 summer season, on the eve of Armistice Day, Joe's Scarecrow Village was vandalised during the hours of darkness and only one of the 46 `residents` survived. The rest were broken, cut apart and destroyed. The infamous incident became known as the `1986 Massacre` and Delaney named the only remaining scarecrow `Rory`.
Delaney then went on to write an article, in the voice of the lone survivor asking people to help repair the site. The article was published in a local newspaper and Delaney received an outpouring of support including donations of old clothing and financial contributions. A teacher in British Columbia put on a play about Joe's Scarecrows to raise funds for the restoration. The following season Delaney rebuilt the scarecrow village which reopened and quickly grew to over 100 scarecrows. The murderer(s) has / have never been brought to justice!
Joe's Scarecrow Village featured in episode 1 of the ITV series `Billy Connolly: Journey to the Edge of the World` in which the `Big Yin` played his banjo with the scarecrows providing backing and he was surprised when presented with a scarecrow made in his likeness.