CARNIVAL fever hits Hastings today (Friday, July 29) with the first events in a packed programme kicking off tonight.
The Beach Concert begins in The Carlisle this evening at 8pm, shortly after a charity gig by The Likely Lads in the Hastings and St Leonards Angling Association at 6pm.
Local character Ian Porter, vice-chairman of Old Town Carnival Week, urged everyone to attend the grand opening ceremony tomorrow (Saturday, July 30).
“This opening weekend is one of the key dates in Hastings’s calendar,” he said. “The procession will be a real highlight, something no one should miss.
“Hastings has so much going on in the next 10 days - the town is going to come alive, and we want everyone to join in.”
On Saturday, brawny residents test their strength in the inter-pub Tug o’ War at 10.30am on The Stade, before the main procession leaves Winkle Island at 11am, looping back to The Stade for the opening ceremony at 11.30am.
April Grant, Hastings’s 2011 Carnival Queen, is crowned at Winkle Island shortly after, before the procession sets off again at noon to the Fisherman’s Museum.
On Sunday, vocal locals compete for the title of Old Town Crier, and any spare time can easily be filled by the many walks, talks and artists’ studios opening their doors.
Highlights of the week ahead include the seaboot race, Courthouse Street fun day and the All Saints Church organ concert on Monday; the bike race and brewery tours on Tuesday, along with an open day at Pollock’s Toyshop, High Street.
Wednesday sees teams compete in the pram race, and the Winkle Club’s knock-out putting competition on The Stade, while Thursday’s highlight must be the huge evening street party in High Street and Brewery Yard.
Sea-dogs swarm into Hastings on Friday, when the town is transformed for Pirate Day, ahead of the closing carnival procession on Saturday (see the map for details of the carnival route, and locations of key events over the week).
For a full programme, with details of times and locations, visit www.1066.net/carnival or www.oldtowncarnivalweek.co.uk.
To enter a float in the carnival procession, complete a form, available from Hastings Information Centre, or www.1066.net/carnival, and return it to Carol Boorman, 8 The Croft, Hastings, TN34 3HH, or drop it in to the Cobblers, High Street, before August 5.
• For full coverage of the events, plus the chance to enter an exciting competition where you could win a helicopter ride, see this week’s Hastings Observer newspaper.