How can a quiet, conscientous little town undergo such a dramatic transformation?
It’s been said in the past that for one day Lewes goes a little bonkers.
November the Fifth. The streets are alight with fire, the air is filled with the deafening crack of fireworks and the bewitching smell of paraffin.
Thousands of shadowy figures march in torchlight processions dressed in elaborate costumes that take their inspiration from the ancient world right through to science fiction.
No wonder those witnessing Bonfire Night for the first time are sometimes left rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
It’s not a new phenomenon.
A delighted journalist obviously got caught up in the excitement reporting the Lewes celebrations of 1869 in the Daily News.
He wrote: “This genteel little town ... was given over to Molech for just six hours.
“The impressions made on my mind within this period have been these - that I was in Pandemonium; that I was at an out-of-doors pantomime; that I was assisting at a religious rite; that I was commemorating a noble event; that I was making an ass of myself.”
Proof, if ever it was needed, that Bonfire Fever is infectious.
And if the riotous reputation the celebrations attracted more than 200 years ago has long disappeared, there’s still that slightly anarchic and abandoned element to the evening.
That’s all part of the fun.
Don’t forget to keep a close eye on the Sussex Express website and Twitter account during the celebrations.
The team will be out and about watching the procession and at the fire sites aiming to bring you coverage of all the colourful events on the night.
Go to www.sussexexpress.co. uk for all you need to know about Bonfire Night 2012.