Called the ‘Wara’ (rice straw festival), held annually on August 31, the event owes its existence to excess straw left over from the harvest. Local artists in Niigata Prefecture gather around and constructed the prehistoric beasts over wooden frames fashioned with the straw.
The frames, allowing families to get close and even stand inside the mouths of the creatures as they take photos, hold the tall structures together.
There are other things on display as well, but it is artist Amy Goda whose work truly stands out.
The theme for this year was ‘living creatures,’ although dinosaurs are of course extinct. Over 30 artists and workers participated.
The straw comes about as a byproduct of growing rice. Farmers don’t want to dump it, or stink up the surroundings by burning it and creating pollution, so creating huge and imposing structures seems like the perfect way to deal with the mess.
Every summer since 2008, Niigata City has been reporting on the festival and posting pictures online. The designs become more elaborate each year, with the Tyrannosauruses evoking a genuine sense of reality in terms of size and stature.