Carnival capers race into Old Town

The seaboot race last year

The seaboot race last year

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ORGANISERS are putting the final touches to a bumper programme of races, parades and pirate-themed fun for the Hastings Old Town Carnival.

As racers oil their prams and runners limber up for the seaboot challenge, Ian Porter, coordinator of Old Town Carnival Week (OTCW), forecasts a bumper year for the popular annual event, which traditionally marks the high point of Hastings’s summer.

“This is going to be the biggest and best carnival week we’ve had,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and coordinating for the past seven, and we’ve never had as many events as this.”

The packed week officially opens at 11am on Saturday, July 30, with a parade starting at Winkle Island, lead by this year’s carnival court.

A host of events and exhibitions ends with an acrobatic aerial display over the harbour arm on Saturday, August 6, followed by the grand carnival procession from Rock-a-Nore, and fireworks at Hastings Castle.

Highlights of the week include the ever-popular seaboot race in Courthouse Street on August 1, and the pram race on August 3. The free beach concert returns over the weekend of July 30 and 31.

Tourists are sure to be baffled by the butcher’s bike race up the steep Crown Lane on Tuesday, August 2, and the thousands of buccaneers swarming around the seafront for Pirate Day on Friday, August 5.

Last month, the Cornish town of Penzance snatched Hastings’s 2010 record of most pirates in one place. Rather than a new world record, organisers are now hoping for a world first - a living skull and crossbones, formed from thousands of pirates at the site of Hastings Bonfire, and photographed from the air.

Teams for the pram race must pre-register at the Cutter Inn, East Parade, by midday on race day. For a full programme of events visit www.1066.net/carnival, or www.oldtowncarnivalweek.co.uk.