Jack comes alive for May Day celebrations
Thousands of revellers lined the streets of the Old Town on Monday to welcome Jack in the Green.
A downpour at the start of the festival failed to dampen the enthusiasm of spectators and those in the procession as the Jack - a dancing tower of leaves - burst out of the Fishermen’s Museum to start a day of celebrations.
Jack led the procession surrounded by his green bogeymen followers and joined by a colourful entourage of Morris Dancers, Sweeps, Giants, drummers and other costumed characters.
People along the route joined in the with the spirit of the event by decorating houses and themselves with greenery and ribbons.
The procession made its way up All Saints Street and down the High Street before making its way up Croft Road to the West Hill where an estimated 5,000 people had gathered for an afternoon of dance, music and revelry.
At the end of the afternoon the Jack was ceremonially slain to release the spirit of summer and leaves were distributed to the crowd as tokens of good luck.
Monday was the main event of a weekend of celebrations which included live music and Morris dance displays around the town and on the pier.
The revived May Day celebrations have been taking place in Hastings for more than 30 years.
Hastings Borough Council marketing manager Kevin Boorman said: “Although rain fell during the Jack in the Green procession in the morning, the threatened thunderstorm held off all afternoon, and an estimated 5,000 spectators on the West Hill enjoyed the spectacle of different Morris sides dancing against the dramatic backdrop of a rough English Channel.
“The Jack in the Green Festival is organised by a group of volunteers, and we are very grateful to them for what they do to put on one of our most popular, and unusual, events. We are well known for being quirky and different, and Monday showed why.”
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