Residents of Urchfont are putting the finishing touches to their creations for the annual scarecrow festival.

Over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend – May 3-5 – the village expects thousands of people to visit and help raise money for charity.

Organisers are keeping tight-lipped about the theme until nearer the time but festival chairman Robert Pendry said: “Choosing an original theme is always a challenge, especially with so many other festivals springing up.

“We always pride ourselves on our themes, which is why we tend to keep it secret. I can say that the theme is both ancient and modern, international and domestic, and it involves some tall tales.”

Residents making a scarecrow were given their characters in December.

Urchfont is the original Wiltshire scarecrow festival and this is its 17th year. There will be 54 scarecrows, the same as last year, starting and finishing at the village pond. Parking is free.

The festival has grown from a small-scale affair intended to raise money to refurbish Urchfont Village Hall to an event that has raised more than £250,000 since it began. Nearly 30 good causes and charities benefit from the event annually.

Mr Pendry said: “The Urchfont festival attracts something like 10,000 people to the village over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. This wonderful level of interest and support has made us the biggest event of its kind in Wiltshire.”

While the festival is running there will also be a plant sale at Manor Farm House, a flower show and handbell ringing in the church and an art show and photography club show in the village hall.