Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Flames and festival fun 

On Tuesday 17 July, the St Leonards’ Festival will be hitting the town for the seventh year with something to appeal to everyone, reports HOT journalist, Zelly Restorick.  Normally held on a Saturday, this year the date has been changed to coincide with the Olympic Torch Relay along the sea front of St Leonards and Hastings.

This year, all of the Festival events take place in Warrior Square Gardens. Among the attractions are live music, a children’s marquee with arts and crafts, puppets, play, sports and a fancy dress competition, live performances and street theatre in the Open Forum Area, a fashion show, laughter yoga, a shopping market and a food court. The fun starts at 12.15pm and carries on til 9.30pm.

Topping the bill on the central stage is Soul X Press and the Blues Bros Show, 90 non-stop minutes of song and dance from the largest Blues Brothers Tribute act in Europe.  The heart shaped yellow love birds of HUGe Nest bring some loving to the people of St Leonards.  Once free of their birdcage, they’ll dance for you, sing you a love song, give you a hug or maybe even pen you a love letter as a memento.  And Trundlehonk, with the emphasis on the HONK!, brings you physical comedy, slapstick and live music from mischievous, misbehaving instruments.

Other acts on the stage offer a wide variety of family-friendly entertainment.  Sea shanties, rock and pop from Sound Waves community choir and song and dance from the Gizmo performers, the children and young person’s children’s charity and from Respond Academy, the youth based community project.  Songs from Seaview, gospel singing with New Dawn Christ Church and music from local singer song-writer, Ashley Scrace.  Dance reggae, hip hop and electronica from Monkey Mafia, reggae soul funk from Dub & Tuff and rock and covers from local bands Peak Output, Vendetta and the Kytes, cheerleaders, South East Stars, an umbrella dance by the Hastings Chinese Association and song and dance from the Rainbow Russian School, part of Hastings Russian Community.

At The Roomz on Western Road, there’ll also be a Community Stage featuring a cornucopia of local musicians and a wonderful story teller, Jo Moon.

Best not to eat before you arrive, as you’ll be tempted by the wonderful array of food provided in The Food Court, ranging from Chinese and Indian specialities to fruit kebabs dipped in a chocolate fountain, milkshakes, smoothies, strawberries and cream, coffee and cupcakes, gourmet fish cakes, paella, organic sausages and traditional English food.

If you’re looking for gifts for people or fancy treating yourself to a well-deserved present, then visit the Oudenaarde Walk Market.  Local entrepreneurs will be selling hand-made jewellery, Pagen, Gothic and New Age goods, children’s toys, recycled clothes, music, home-made sensitive skin bath and body products, Middle Eastern and Asian scarves and bags, jams, marmalades and pickles, sandals, arts and crafts, hair and beauty products, hand painted furniture, T shirts and assorted bric a brac.  Many of the stalls will offer Fair Trade, natural, hand-made, eco-friendly products.

The Olympic Torch Run will pass by Warrior Square around half past six in the evening.  Listen out for announcements from the main stage to let you know what’s happening.  This leg of the journey begins on Bexhill Road and finishes at The Stade.

From 4–7.30pm, a special Olympic Torch celebration will be hosted at The Stade, open only to those who’ve purchased tickets in advance, although events can also be watched at Pelham Place car park.  The programme includes stage and screen performances, acrobats, sports, street theatre, music, dance and a live film of audience reaction.  The final torchbearer will take to the stage at 6.50pm and light the cauldron.  To mark the end of the day’s celebrations, a fabulous pyrotechnic display will be fired from Hastings Castle beginning at 9.30pm.

Other events are taking place all over our two towns, please see listings below for details. The torch can also be seen as it leaves the Old Town on the following morning.

The Olympic Torch, made up of an aluminium alloy inner and outer skin, is perforated by 8,000 tiny circles to represent the 8,000 inspirational stories of all the torchbearers.  Seventeen Sussex people have been nominated to carry the torch along the sea front; men, women and children with ages ranging from 12 to 73.  Each person has been selected and recognised for their contribution to improving the lives of others, including fund raising and working for charitable causes, raising awareness of rare diseases, volunteering, caring for others, hard work, bravery and personal endurance.

The origins of the torch date back to the first Olympic Games in Ancient Greece around 776BC, where a sacred flame burned continually on the alter of the goddess Hera throughout the Games – and messengers travelled throughout the country, announcing the events and declaring a sacred truce for the duration.

From the beginning of the Torch’s journey in Greece to its arrival earlier this month in England, through all the hands of the torchbearers through to its delivery at the Olympic Stadium for the Opening Ceremony, the flame spreads a message of peace, unity and friendship.  Let’s hope that this incredibly powerful and inspirational message reaches all of our hearts.

Details of the St Leonards Festival can be found on the Gensing and Central St Leonards Community Forum website.

And brochures picked up locally or from the Gensing and Central St Leonards Community Information Centre on Silchester Road bet 9.30am and 1pm.

Details of the Olympic Torch route, times, the local torchbearers, their nomination stories and the event at The Stade can be found here.

And the schedule for the day can be found here.



Posted 10:05 Thursday, Jul 12, 2012 In: One Long Party

Also in: One Long Party

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