Jack in the Green comes alive in Hastings this weekend and here is everything you need to know to enjoy one of the biggest events of the year.
There is lots to see and do over the four day event which culminates with the spectacular procession on Monday May 6. The streets of the Old Town are decorated with greenery and ribbons by volunteers.
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Timings for events:
Friday May 3:
8pm: Folk session in The Stag, All Saints Street, from 8pm.
Saturday May 4:
12pm: Morris dancing displays on Winkle Island in Hastings Old Town.
2pm: Sing around in The Stag, All Saints Street, with Rattlebag.
8pm: Ceilidh dance in St Mary in the castle, Pelham Place, with Random.
8pm: Concert with Magpie Lane in St Clements Church, High Street, Old Town.
Sunday May 5:
10am: Morris dancers church service at St Clements Church, High Street, Old Town.
12pm: Dance Spectacular at Stade Open Space in Old Town.
4pm: Concert with the Copper Family at St Clements Church, High Street, Old Town.
4pm: Drum-off at Butlers Gap in George Street.
8pm: Ceilidh dance in St Mary in the castle, Pelham Place, with Jigfoot.
Monday May 6:
9.15am: The gathering begins at Rock-a-Nore Road, in the Old Town.
10.15am: Jack in the Green is released from the Fisherman’s Museum in Rock-a-Nore Road.
11.30am: Procession pauses at bottom of High Street for dance displays.
12.30pm: Procession arrives on the West Hill green.
3.30pm (approximately): Slaying of the Jack to release the spirit of summer.
Procession route: The procession follows a route up All Saints Street, crossing the Bourne to go down the High Street, then up to Croft Road, and Collier Road to the West Hill.
Who is who in the procession: Centre stage is the Jack - a living, dancing tower of leaves crowned with flowers. Jack is surrounded by the bogies, wild green men who protect him and green-up members of the audience. Leading Jack is Black Sal, his consort, with a garland of flowers.
Other characters to look out for are chimney sweeps and milkmaids. Jack in the Green was first taken out by local chimney sweeps in Hastings in the nineteenth century, while milkmaids, known for their colourful garlands, were a regular feature of the Jack in the Green processions of London.
Behind Jack come a whole host of drummers, Morris dancers, musicians and the Gay Bogies and Lovely Ladies, who are known for their stunning costumes, swagger and style.
Other groups in the procession include The Second Line Band, Section 5 drummers, Stix drummers, Sambalanco
You will not be able to miss giants, which will tower over the procession.
Food and drink:
There will be catering stands on the West Hill as well as a bar serving locally brewed real ale and other drinks.
Official merchandise, including, T-shirts and badges, will be on sale throughout the event.
Other things to know: Keep out of the road when the procession is moving and know that it is unlucky to take a leaf from the Jack before the slaying ceremony when leaves are handed to members of the public to release the spirit of summer and bring good luck.
For more information visit the website: www.hastingsjitg.co.uk.