Family fun in the park for the Crowning of Hastings May Queen this Sunday

The Mayor will be crowning Hastings’ 89th May Queen in a colourful afternoon of entertainment at Alexandra Park on Sunday May 8.

Hastings May Queen has a long history and is the second-longest active May Queen celebration in England.

The tradition has been kept alive in recent years by Helen and Barry Jones, but they have handed the reins over to Holly Clamp this year.

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Holly has been the musician for the maypole dancers for many years and is very honoured to have become the custodian of this special event for the next phase of its story.

Hastings May Queen Maypole dancing. Pic by Alan Roberts SUS-220405-123144001

Holly said: “The celebrations get underway at 1pm at the bandstand in Alexandra Park, with the Fiddle Choir playing uplifting music.

At 1.50pm the Hastings May Queen and her entourage will arrive, where the flower attendants will defeat winter with their flowers and leaves and the maypole dancers will stamp out the last remnants of winter with a rousing dance.

At 2pm the Mayor will crown this year’s May Queen, Isabel Morton.

The afternoon will continue with joyful entertainment from Hastings Maypole Dancers, Rattlebag, Hannah’s Cat Morris, Roses Are Red young dancers, The Gorgeous Georgians, a garland contest, Punch and Judy and more.

Hastings May Queen SUS-220405-123207001

“There will be face painting and plants for sale, and refreshments available from [email protected] The Park.

The event is supported by Hastings Borough Council, who for the 89th year have helped make everything happen.

Hastings Maypole Dancers have been lucky enough to attract external funding from the Folk Camps Society, and the English Folk Dance and Song Society. The funding has enabled rehearsal time and additional workshops, which many local schools have been enjoying for the last few months.

“Because of the pandemic, this is the first time for two years that Hastings May Queen has been able to take place live, and at the right time. For the past two years the events have been online, and the two May Queens from 2020 and 2021 were officially crowned at a special event last August.

“But this year we’re back on track, we have a beautiful new maypole to dance around and lots of entertainment and joy to offer, so bring along your sun hats and some favourite people and join us: 8th May 2022, The Bandstand at Alexandra Park, 1pm.

Former organiser Barry Jones said: “The Hastings Traditional Jack-in-the-Green is watched by thousands, but the older tradition of dancing around the Maypole is not so well attended. It is good to keep this local custom alive.”

It also maintains the May Garland tradition, which saw children creating and taking out garlands of flowers to welcome summer.