The Festival comes round every second year. 2016 was the 12th the modern day festival; 24 years, and still going strong. In fact, there is even more history than that, for in 1951 when the Civic Society was still called the Hythe Citizens’ Union, a Festival Week with a nearly identical logo took place and included (according to the Official Programme – price 6d), an Arts and Crafts Exhibition in the Institute (First Prize a 4-valve AC/DC Mains Wireless Receiver), a Ball in the Imperial (tickets 12/6), a Miss Hythe Festival, (young ladies over 16, resident in Hythe could enter; afternoon dresses to be worn), a Fashion Show, a Puppet Show in The Grove……
This year the logo has been changed as has our advertising poster, and the design is by Andy Tuohy, a renowned local artist.
Half a century later a group of volunteers planned a follow-up, each chipping in an amount to buy stationery. 1992 was a worrying time in Hythe – there were plans to impose a precinct on the High Street and traders were worried about the effect of that on foot-fall. It also happened that the Tour de France was to come through the Town, so Mayor Arthur Kensett called in his friend Cllr Maurice Maisey, and together they planned events surrounding that, to bring a little cheer to all.
It worked, and begged the obvious next question – should it be done again? Hythe already has one biennial showpiece event, the Venetian Fete, so it soon fell into place that the Fete and the Festival would alternate. (Which is just as well, as it takes two years to organise!)
Events are planned so that there will be something in the programme somewhere to appeal to all ages and also to attract visitors. There are old favourites like the Free-for-All on The Green, the Canal Bank Concert, the High Street Parade, a varied programme of Concerts in St Leonard’s Church, a Festival Ball, and appearances by a Military Band. Other events have been added gradually: FHODS Concerts in the Tower Theatre at Shorncliffe, an opportunity to visit the Grand Redoubt inside the Ranges, a Fashion Show, a Car Show…. In 2016 we plan to have more events on the seafront, including contemporary theatre and displays by the marine conservation society. We also aim to have a performance of Shakespeare in the Park, by Brockhill School.
Always, the aim is to provide fun and interest at minimum cost to the public, with many events FREE to attend.
This means that funds have to be raised from sponsors large and small. Festival after Festival, generous donations were made, regular support was offered by Hythe Town Council and small shops and even individuals made contributions.
The programme of events grows ever larger, and long may it continue.