HASTINGS & BEXHILL are about to embark on the most exciting race in recent times.
It is a race to put them on a cultural pedestal and fly the biggest flag in 1066 Country since William the Conqueror landed nearly 1,000 years ago.
Officials at Hastings Borough Council (HBC) are busy putting the finishing touches to their bid to bring the title to our region.
The bid must aim to do four things: attract more visitor supporting the local economy, increase media interest in the area helping longer-term tourism, bring community members together and increase levels of professional artistic collaboration.
There are 10 other bids on the table from East Kent, Leicester, Southend, Chester, Plymouth, Swansea Bay, Dundee, Hull, Portsmouth and Southampton.
Hastings & Bexhill are awash with cultural events all year round.
Starting with Fat Tuesday in February the fun and celebration stretches right through to October when Hastings Week takes place.
In March there is the internationally acclaimed Hastings Music Festival, in April Beatles Day, in May Jack-in-the-Green, in July Pirate Day and Beach Concert and St Leonards Festival, in August Old Town Carnival Week, in September Seafood & Wine Festival, in November the Herring Fair and in December The Chess Congress.
The judges will make a decision in the summer on who the four shortlisted candidate will be. That will then be whittled down to one later in the year.
Mayor Alan Roberts: “I back the bid all the way. We are already on the historical and cultural map.
“We are a fantastic town of great diversity and culture.
“Wherever you look around our town there are things going on and its not just in the summer - it’s all year round.
“We have great diversity here with our people and cultures. There are scores of European schoolchildren coming over to learn English and visit places like Battle Abbey.
“We have the Old Town which is home to numerous artists and musicians. We have the Philharmonic choir and university campus.
“And the pier is about to be rebuilt which would be the icing on the cake. I would love to welcome the judges this summer.”
Kevin Boorman, head of marketing at HBC, said: “I think this is a really fantastic opportunity for Hastings.
“Our residents and visitors tell us how much they appreciate the superb events the town puts on. They’re great to watch and great to take part in.
“And, of course, it’s the community - the people of Hastings - who organise nearly all of them.
“I don’t think anybody could beat us for our emotion, our power, our fantastic sense of community.
“We may be a bit bohemian, even a bit anarchic, but I think that’s a strength. But above all it is about our passion and that’s why we want as many local people as possible to help us in developing our bid.”
We want you to get involved and help back the bid. Send us your comments in no more than 50 words on why Hastings & Bexhill should be City of Culture 2017. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.