Colourful Hastings May Queen celebrations take place in the park on Saturday

Two Hastings May Queens will finally get their crowns during a colourful afternoon ceremony in Alexandra Park on Saturday, August 21.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 10:20 am

Organiser Barry Jones explained: “Because of circumstances caused by the pandemic, the 2020 May Queen elect, Anna Mann will finally be crowned, and her successor, Drew Rogers, will become the 2021 May Queen.

“Last year was the first year, since 1934, that the ceremony did not take place, including the war years.

“Anna did make one appearance last year, as May Queen for the 2020 Jack-in-the-Green online virtual procession.”

Crowning of the May Queen in Alexandra Park, Hastings. Photo by Roberts Photographic SUS-190513-092421001

“A procession headed by both May Queens will leave the lower lawn of the Park at 1.45pm and join the festivities at the bandstand at 2pm, where the crownings will be celebrated by the Hastings Maypole Dancers, singing group Rattlebag, local women acapella singers and The Fiddle Choir.

“The finale for the show is the Punch and Judy with Julian, another Hastings resident talent.

“Throughout the event, local face painter Beshlie-Ann will be on hand to provide amazing facial portraits for young and old; and, of course, the traditional Garland competition will take place.

“As it is an unusual May Queen crowning –two May Queens in August- there is another twist. The Gorgeous Georgians will appear somewhere during the afternoon to give a quick display of Regency dancing.

“Although we are still calling this event the May Queen Pageant, it follows centuries old traditions which were held at all times during the warmer months to celebrate the summer, and it’s not over yet!

“In order to try to save an almost lost tradition, we still put on the Garland Competition.

“Garlands were used both in Britain and throughout the continent for hundreds of years, but began to fade away in the middle of the 1900’s; after the 1960’s very few garlands were seen through most of the country, with only the south east, south west and parts of Lancashire still using them.

“Hastings restored the tradition of Jack-in-the-Green, and now we want to restore garland making.”

For information packs about how to create your garland email; [email protected]