Hold onto your hats! Hat Festival set to return

It’s all happening with head-gear next month, as preparations are underway for the second Faversham Hat Festival.

Following the successful inaugural hat festival last Easter, which featured a parade in West Street led by the town crier, a lady stilt-walker and a wandering minstrel, the festival is set to return next month and promises to be bigger and better when it bursts into life on Saturday 4 April to set Faversham’s street thronging.

Hat Shop posterThe brain-child of Rachel, proprietor of the Hat Shop along West Street, this year the event will see the parade from West Street to the Alexander Centre kicking off a day of lively events including live music, all coming to a head in the magnificent Assembly Rooms at 7.30pm with a Hatter’s Dance featuring live jazz from the KD Jazz and Dance Orchestra and cocktails by Kent-based liquers-makers, MightyFineThings.

“Everyone had a lot of fun last year, so we are going to do it again this year!” enthuses Rachel, as I caught up with her in her wonderfully bijou shop, artfully arrayed with all manner of vintage head-gear that enthusiasts will love; her shop feels less like a retail space and more like a gallery exhibition, such is the care and loving detail which has gone into its presentation. “We’re encouraging everyone to come out in a hat and join us in the West Street Hat Parade, leaving here at 11 o’clock sharp.  The parade will walk up to the Alexander Centre main  and be greeted by The Fleur Singers singing hats songs on-stage –  they were wonderful last year, so do come and hear them sing! Then the competitions judging will begin.” Prizes will be donated by a selection of local businesses, and will include whacky criteria such as ‘Best Hatted Dog,’ ‘Best Innovative Fantastical Hat’ and (very topically) ‘Best Magna Carta 800 Hat!’

Prior to the festival, there will be hat-making workshops in schools as well as an all-day free drop-in hat making workshop for children in the Guildhall on Good Friday, led by a qualified teacher and artist from 10am – 3pm.

HatFestival KDJazzRachel’s passion for the festival is infectious, and it’s easy to see why; it’s very much a community event, bringing together local business, artists and musicians, with plenty of activities for young children and families at its heart. “I started the festival last year, shortly after opening the shop – boy, it was hard work! But it was a fantastic event, really well supported by the local community, and I’m hoping even more people will come this year.”

“Come on, everyone,” Rachel says as she flourishes her own stylish head-piece, eyes alight with enthusiasm, “this is a community event, created by the community for the community; come and join us in wearing your hat – bought or handmade, we don’t mind! – and have fun!”

For more information contact Rachel at The Hat Shop, West Street, Faversham, email:rtc.rachel@yahoo.co.uk, or tel: 01795 227071; you can also follow The Hat Shop on Twitter.

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