PREPARATIONS are already underway for the town’s popular Jack-in-the-Green festivities.
The colourful procession, complete with green bogies, Morris dancers, may queens and carnival giants, traditionally marks the start of summer Hastings style, and will take place from Friday, May 4 to 7.
The event, which draws in a huge influx of visitors, involves the procession winding through the streets of Old Town before it heads up to Hastings Castle on the West Hill for the traditional slaying of the Jack and the unleashing of the spirit of summer on Bank Holiday Monday (May 7).
It is believed that Jack-in-the-Green brings in an estimated £5 million to the local economy each year.
Keith Leech, chairman of the Jack-in-the Green committee, said: “This year is our 30th celebration of the current revival of the custom.
“Alongside the Morris dancers and giants, Jacks-in-the-Green and May garlands from other parts of the country will be coming along.”
The festivities start on the Friday (May 4) with an evening’s entertainment at St Mary-in-the-Castle from 8pm, featuring local favourites The Moors.
On the Saturday, starting at Winkle Island on The Bourne, Morris dancers will be performing in Old Town, including Mad Jacks Morris and Hannah’s Cat.
The ceilidh on Saturday evening, also at St Mary-in-the-Castle, will feature Coventry-based band Peeping Tom who are also celebrating their 30th year, as well as up and coming young ceilidh band Toothless Mary.
Local favourites Gigspanner will be playing in All Saints Church.
The Jack-in-the-Green exhibition will be held at History House, Courthouse Street, in the Old Town, from late April to early May. Opening times will be 11am to 4pm, Thursday to Sunday.
The event, now in its fifth year, charts the history of the popular festivities.