Hastings Week kicks off on Saturday, October 8

A scene from last year's Hastings Bonfire
A scene from last year's Hastings Bonfire

A POPULAR week-long festival to mark the 945th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings begins on Saturday (October 8) and promises a host of fantastic events

Hastings Week takes place from October 7-16 and officially kicks off tomorrow with an opening ceremony outside the Town Hall.

Attractions will include a two-day classic car show (complete with open-deck vintage bus rides), the 1066 Hastings East Hill Stopes Race and the National Town Criers Championship.

Ion Castro, spokesman for Hastings Week, told the Observer the event has grown from a one-day celebration to a whole week packed with events.

He said: “The week officially starts at 9.30am on Saturday, with the opening ceremony outside the Town Hall.

“The two-day Classic Car Show starts in the former coach park on Saturday with and Hastings’ own 83-year old trolleybus ‘Happy Harold’ is expected to be there and will be giving rides along the seafront, he’ll be on parade on Sunday as well and look out for him on Wednesday when he’ll be based near the town hall and will be giving rides between 11am and 3pm.

“Finally, if he survives all that he’ll be around the Stade Open Space on Sunday, October 16 for the Hastings end of the Spratt and Winkle run of Historic Commercial Vehicles from Sevenoaks.”

The event’s Hobbies and Crafts Fayre has found a new home at the Ore Community Centre tomorrow and there is a new event with 3D photographs of Hastings in the 19th century at the town hall – Peter Cresswell has invented a viewer allowing Victorian stereoscopes to be seen on a large scale.

Books Born in Hastings is an annual celebration of local writing and images of Hastings is back at the Town Hall tomorrow from 11am to 3pm.

Saturday’s busy programme includes look out for Hastings’ unique 1066 Steps Race, up the steps to the top of the East Hill, and back through the Old Town.

The ‘1066 Award’ takes place on Hastings Day, Friday, October 14. Next Saturday (October 15) features the 59th National Town Crier’s Championship held in Priory Meadow on Saturday morning day only, and the climax of the week - the lighting of the Hastings Beacon on the East Hill at 7.15pm is followed by a torchlight procession, Burning of The Effigy (who or what it will be is a closely guarded secret until the very last moment), Hastings Bonfire, and spectacular fireworks display.

On Sunday the week’s official closing ceremony is outside the Town Hall in Queens Road later in the afternoon.

The week also features exhibitions, coffee mornings, walks, talks, sport, guided tours, music, opera, belly dancing, art and arts exhibitions, demonstrations, talent shows machine knitting demonstrations, rugby and water polo and chess.

There will also be exhibitions at the Fishermen’s Museum, Rock-a-Nore Road, and at Hastings History House, 21 Courthouse Street.

More information about these two venues is available on the OHPS web-site, www.ohps.org.uk.

Free vineyard trails and tastings at the Carr Taylor Vineyard at Westfield and Friary Gardeners at Ore Place Farm on The Ridge will be open Monday to Friday.

There are permanent exhibitions at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery Bohemia Road has Hastings History Galleries featuring Robert Tressell, John Logie Baird and Grey Owl as well as the spectacular Durbar Hall.

Hastings Lifeboat Station will be open to view the Sealink Endeavour and inshore lifeboat and the Old Town Hall Museum in High Street covers key moments in the Old Town’s history.

The printed programme is available free from the Hastings Information Centre and usual outlets.

Most of the events are free admission with donations welcome, and there may be a small fixed charge for some of the other events.

Organisers have warned visitors there could be some alterations and additions, and to see www.1066.net/hastings-week for the latest information.