The Hythe Venetian Fete is a tableau
of decorated floats in various themes, historical and
Held on the Royal Military Canal in
the Town of Hythe every second year on the third Wednesday
in August, the Fete attracts an audience of thousands from
far and wide.
There are two processions of up to 40
floats, first in daylight, and then again after dark
At dusk between the two parades there
is a grand firework display. Historically the Hythe Venetian
Fete was originally a feature of Hythe Cricket Week and has
been held intermittently since 1860.
The early years saw the participation
of national cricketing personalities and celebrities.
One evening of the Cricket Week when
Hythe was "En Fete" the festivities were transferred from
the adjoining Cricket Ground to the Royal Military Canal.
Rowing skips, Indian canoes and punts, were hired for the
occasion and were decorated and festooned with strings of
fairy lights, candies and night-lights in gloss cups.
Strains of a banjo or guitar wafted
across the water as the gondolas floated by, offering
relaxed and sophisticated enjoyment.
In 1928 the Hythe Venetian Fete was
held as the town's independent attraction. It was organised
by the Hythe Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the
Mayor and Corporation. It became a much greater spectacle
than it had been in previous years. There were parades of
decorated tableaux, depicting imaginatively presented
themes, and as dusk fell hundreds of lights were lit up
across bridges and amongst the trees. The tableaux
individually illuminated, paraded again, presenting a fresh
and fascinating picture, reflected in the shimmering waters
of the Canal. The Fete was held annually until 1939 when the
A handful of enthusiasts took the
initiative in 1946 and the Fete was revived with successful
years following each other and the support grew to
By 1954 the annual task of planning
and organising became so time-consuming that it was decided
to hold the event bi-annually, always on the third Wednesday
It should not be forgotten that the
organisers are unpaid volunteers with a committee running
the Hythe Venetian Fete Society Limited, which is now a
Company limited by Guarantee.
Thus the original constitution
continues to provide a spectacular entertainment for
thousands, and surplus funds are donated to local charities.