ORGANISERS of the town’s famous Jack-in-the-Green celebrations are counting on a bumper turnout for what could be the last ever event.
Despite a massive campaign against the Government’s plans to move the May Day Bank Holiday - which culminated in last week’s invasion of bogies, Morris dancers and May Queens taking over Westminster - the event could still be in jeopardy if ministers press ahead with their proposals.
With that in mind, Keith Leech who organises the event has issued a call-to-arms for the town to turn out in force and show the authorities just how seriously Hastings takes its May Day traditions.
He told the Observer: “Following the success of the recent protests at Parliament this year’s Jack-in-the-Green will go ahead as usual on Monday with the hope that it will not be the last.
“We hope that as many people as possible will come to see what could be lost if the Bank Holiday is scrapped in favour of a holiday in dark, damp October.”
The festivities kick off at 10am with the procession starting at the Fishermen’s Museum in Rock-a-Nore.
The eye-catching spectacle will not go down George Street this year because of health and safety concerns but it will wind its way up All Saints Street, down High Street and along Collier Road ending up as always at Hastings Castle.
There will be plenty of dancing displays to keep the crowds entertained before the spirit of the summer is released at about 3.30pm and the Jack’s leaves are distributed.
In the run-up to Monday’s celebrations there are plenty of events taking place across town.
Tonight (Friday) there is a ceilidh at St-Mary-in-the-Castle and tomorrow (Saturday) there will be Morris dancing at Winkle Island from noon, before another ceilidh in the evening.
On Sunday, which is May 1, there will be dancing on the Ladies’ Parlour in Hastings Castle at the crack of dawn - 5am - and a special church service with Morris dancing at St Clements Church in the Old Town at 10am.
The May Queen will be crowned at the castle at 1.30pm, and there are concerts at St-Mary-in-the-Castle from 4pm and The Stables Theatre at 8pm.
Visit www.hastingsjack.co.uk for details about all the events taking place this weekend.