• Bob Bruce

2020 Hopfest Lite

As many of you will know we in Hythe are twinned with Poperinge in Belgium and they celebrate the cultivation of the hop every three years. Such a celebration was planned for September this year and we, as a Twinning organisation and individuals, were going to participate. However, Covid 19 put paid to all that but recently Poperinge suggested that all their twinned towns participated in a virtual Hopfest - the Hopfest Lite! The form of the Hopfest Lite was to be a short video from each town, showing town and Twinning members celebrating the hop with a toast in beer.

All of these videos would then be made into a composite video with the Mayor of Poperinge thanking the various groups in their own language. Our challenge was to get a significant location in Hythe for videoing, locating somebody to do the videoing and gathering together a representative group of people bearing in mind the Covid 19 restrictions. (This occurred before the rule of six was introduced).

Our Mayor, Naomi Blade was enthusiastic about the project and agreed that we could use the Town Hail Undercroft and that she was willing to participate. Stewart Weller volunteered to do the videoing and even managed to get himself in the final video! My wife and I persuaded various committee and other members to participate and bring glasses, drink and the Hythe Twinning Association banner. All of this for a video not to exceed 30 seconds! We did a brief rehearsal early on Sunday morning to check the video set up and the event took place that same evening at 6 pm. Whilst setting up in the evening and having a few rehearsals we had some quizzical looks from passing motorists and customers at the nearby fish and chip shop!

The Mayor of Poperinge, Christof Dajaegher, has always made us most welcome when we have visited and we have had the benefit of both of the Poperinge bands, at various functions in Hythe. The actual Hopfest is a major event in Poperinge and lasts several days with parades, various entertainments and much beer and food to be sampled! From the video you will see that Poperinge is twinned with many places in Belgium but also with England, France and Germany. I hope you find the video interesting as it shows that Twinning is alive and surviving in these difficult times.

Fred Kirkby, Chairman, Hythe Twinning Association

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