On Wednesday August 16, Hythe hosted a chain gang of mayors (the unofficial collective noun for such a group). The occasion was the biannual Venetian fete, which sees richly and creatively dressed floats elegantly pass by along the Military Canal. Waterborne bands also entertain spectators and guests who picnicked on the steep canal banks.
The first Venetian fete was staged in 1890 and the event has taken place irregularly since then, sometimes three times a year and sometimes several years have passed without one at all. However in recent decades, the Fete has settled down into a routine of every two years.
The weather could not have been better this year. A glorious sunny day drew crowds who thronged the canal banks. The evening started officially with a welcome from the Lord Admiral of the Cinque Ports, Lord Boyce and the Right Worshipful the Town Mayor of Hythe Paul Peacock who arrived at the VIP area towed by a boat rowed by the Folkestone and Hythe Sea Cadets. Then it was the turn of the mayors from the 13 Cinque Ports to arrive, including our own dear Worship, Councillor Jonathan Breeds.
The daylight procession of 29 floats ensued with a wonderful display of ingenuity and craftsmanship. Many organisations for young people were involved including St Leonards Sunday School, Hythe Town Youth Football Club, Saltwood Scouts and two schools. Sporting organisations were also well represented with floats from Hythe Tennis Club, Folkestone Rowing Club and Hythe Cricket and Squash Club. Themes for the tableaux included “Scout Wars”, the Sound of Music, Jonah and the Whale and Dads Army.
After the floats had passed by in daylight, there was an hour’s interval to wait for nightfall, when a spectacular fireworks display could be glimpsed under the canopy of lush trees. Then the floats reformed, now illuminated and accompanied by music to complete the circuit again, to great applause from the massed crowds.
Photos: Seana Lanigan