Despite the weather doing its best to rain on Rye’s parade, the bonfire evening and parade of the East Sussex Bonfire Societies, led by Rye Bonfire society, filled the streets on Saturday evening with the usual noise, drumming, costumes, painted faces, flaming torches and controlled mayhem.
Months of work had gone into the preparations and no one was going to let a little matter of biting cold and continuous rain spoil things.
Each year a Ryer is “chaired” down to the bonfire to perform the ceremonial lighting, and this year the honour belonged to Mike Eve. Well known for his contribution to the work of the Rye Arts Festival – of which he is a past chairman – and for his part in the development of the Kino among other enterprises, even he looked a touch anxious as, in the wet and slippery conditions, his chair was hoisted on to the shoulders of some strapping Bonfire Boys for the short trip from the Landgate to the bonfire.
Described by one from a visiting bonfire society as the muddiest field so far, the enormous pile of wooden pallets in the centre, topped with a fishing boat and a celebratory sign reminding all of the 25 years of the Rye Bonfire Society, was persuaded to catch fire.
With the bonfire fully alight, the usual spectacular firework display began to the evident joy of a crowd that, despite being a little reduced from some previous years by the weather, was no less enthusiastic.
Image Credits: John Minter .