Hastings Old Town Carnival is cancelled due to coronavirus

The Old Town Carnival and events like the Pram Race and Crown Lane Bike Race will not now be taking place.

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 8:19 am

The week long celebration in August sees hundreds taking part and thousands of people turning out to watch and join in the celebrations.

But the Carnival Committee made the decision that they felt it would be unsafe to go ahead with the planned events due to uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic.

Chairman Keith Leech said: “After consideration the Hastings Old Town Carnival Association Committee have decided that it isn’t viable to run the Old Town Carnival, Gurning Competition or the Pram Race in 2020.

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week 2019: Hastings Carnival procession SUS-191108-093231001

“This isn’t a decision we have taken lightly and were really hoping to go ahead to give our community the boost it needs. To say we are disappointed would be an understatement.

“Even with a relaxation of the current restrictions we cannot see how we can run our events and safely control the social distancing that is still likely to be needed. There is a certain amount of expenditure required to put on these events and we cannot afford to lose this if the government were to reintroduce any lockdown measures.

“We are in discussion with other Old Town organisations and are hoping to put on some kind of virtual Old Town Week and Carnival in a similar vein to the very successful Virtual Jack in the Green. Watch this space for details as this new and hopefully exciting programme is put together.”

The news comes six weeks after Mr Leech had announced they were still going ahead with plans for the carnival. At the beginning of April he said: “Let’s think positive. We are still intending to go ahead with this year’s carnival. We know things may have to change - but fingers crossed.”

Hastings Old Town Carnival Week 2019: Pram Race SUS-190808-091352001

The committee encouraged people to use isolation time to get costumes and floats ready for the event.

Hastings Old Town Carnival celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.