Can I express my deep disappointment with this year’s parade and fireworks display. As an Old Town resident, I look forward to this as one of the highlights of the year, but this year was the worst I have ever seen, and I was expecting so much more as it was a significant anniversary.
Firstly, the parade seemed to have run out of all energy by the time it reached the High Street. Maybe the extended route and weather were taking their toll by then, but it was so much better when it started at the foot of All Saints Street.
There were none of the big bangs in metal bins that we normally get, Health and Safety restrictions were mentioned by some in the parade, but if we are really going down that route, children holding blazing torches with sparks coming off seemed much more a hazard than a few controlled bangs. Many in the crowd were suggesting bring their own bangers next year, and that might lead to carnage.
I think some ‘organised’ bangs would be far more preferable, and as there were plenty of stewards and responsible adults around that I believe that this perceived threat to safety is totally false. I’d like to return to the excitement of last year which I thought was much, much better, otherwise you might as well ban the lot.
Secondly, the parade seemed to have many more diverse villages in it this year, which was good, but none of these were really going for it, as the normal groups are so much more vocal and enthusiastic, not the dreary ‘don’t want to be there’ sombre procession that I witnessed, even many charity collectors seemed unwilling to take our money.
That again could have been down to the weather, and length of the parade, but it is a Hastings evening in October, what are you expecting, glorious sunshine?
Thirdly, to the fireworks display itself, I understand that there had been a break-in and many fireworks were stolen, but that did not excuse them starting 10 minutes early. These never start before 9pm and many people in the Old Town were caught out by the unexpected start. Of the display itself, what I managed to catch while running down the seafront, it lacked any structure and there was no crescendo towards the end, which left many in the crowd uncertain as to whether they had finished.
This was followed by a few more odds and ends of almost forgotten fireworks, and even the announcer was caught out. I believe that there were fireworks set off on the fisherman’s beach during the day, and I’m not sure if this was accidental or should have been included, and as they lasted about five minutes, would really have helped the main display.
Finally, the effigy of a Norman boat was fine, but we have in recent years had a newsworthy figure burnt symbolically, and there were so many candidates for ridicule this year, I would have thought that Southern Rail, Nigel Farage or Donald Trump might have made an appearance. These could have been combined to add rather than subtract from the occasion.
I know that many people do work hard to raise money to put on the parade and fireworks, but if the display part of the organisation continues to put out shows like this weak excuse, that maybe by the 1,000th anniversary (or sooner) there won’t be a display at all.
This is normally a big highlight to the year and I make a point inviting people to come down from London to attend, and it is good for trade in the town, but this year’s lacklustre parade and display did not promote Hastings as well as it normally does.
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