Jack set to come alive on streets of Hastings over May Day weekend

Jack in the Green SUS-160427-131938001
Jack in the Green SUS-160427-131938001

Hastings will come alive with a riot of sound and colour this weekend when the traditional Jack in the Green celebrations take place.

The streets will be thronged with morris dancers, giants and colourful characters over the weekend.

There is the usual fare of folk concerts, pub sessions and barn dances and plenty to see as Hastings once again celebrates this now internationally famous annual May Day custom.

The fun starts on Friday April 29 when the streets of the Old Town will be decorated with greenery.

Morris dancers will gather on Winkle Island on Saturday at noon for a showcase display.

Host sides Mad Jack’s Morris and Hannah’s Cat Morris are joined by dancers from around the country.

Morris sides will then be dancing around the Old Town until 4pm.

Early risers can join Morris men and woman on the West Hill at the Ladies Parlour on Sunday May 1 when they dance the sun up at dawn.

Later in the day, from 2pm, there will be dancing on the pier and in town.

There is family fun in Alexandra Park on Sunday from 1pm with a ceremony to crown the May Queen. The event includes a garland competition, story-telling, Punch and Judy, a performance by the Fiddle Choir and Morris dancing.

The highlight of the weekend is the colourful procession which will see thousands of onlookers lining the streets of the Old Town.

The ‘Jack in the Green’ is a man in a cage covered in leaves, who dances and cavorts for the length of the route attended by green covered bogeymen, drummers and other characters, including chimney sweeps.

Jack is released from the Fisherman’s Museum at Rock-a-Nore at 10.15am.

The procession will move around the Old Town going up All Saints Street and down High Street before going up a leafy lane (Croft Road) to the West Hill for the afternoon.

There will be entertainment on the hill with dancing and singing and a bar supplied by the FILO Brewery who have brewed a real ale especially for the Festival called The Thirst of May.

The event ends with the ceremonial slaying of the Jack at 3.30pm to release the spirit of summer. Leaves from the Jack are then thrown to the crowd to bring people good luck.

Special guests this year are La Lachera carnival from Rocca Grimaldi, Italy. Famous for their masks, (the town houses Italy’s mask museum).

For the full programme visit www.hastingsjitg.co.uk.

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