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Don't miss our comprehensive guide to What's On in Kent in 2014

Make your new year’s resolution to visit one or more of Kent’s fantastic festivals. Get these key dates in your diary.

Walkers near a golf course in Deal
Walkers near a golf course in Deal

New Year walks
Start 2014 by getting out into the fresh air for a walk around the county’s beautiful countryside. Visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent

February 21 - February 23: Game Expo East Kent (GEEK) - Margate
Attention all gamers. Game Expo East Kent (GEEK) is an extravaganza of pixels, pinballs and play, held around Margate over four days during February half term.

There will be hundreds of video games to play on consoles dating from the 1980s, along with talks and demonstrations. Visit www.margatewintergardens.co.uk

February 22 - February 23: Cheriton Lights Festival
The second Lights Festival will be taking place in Cheriton near Folkestone.

Organised by arts organisation Strange Cargo, the free event sees spectacular light-based artwork installations displayed in the streets, and in the front windows of homes and businesses. Visit www.strangecargo.org.uk

Visitors dressed as Super Mario Bros. at last year's event
Visitors dressed as Super Mario Bros. at last year's event

March 4 - 5: Dover Film Festival
A unique glimpse into Dover’s history will be on offer at the town’s annual two-day film festival, taking place in the town hall. Visit www.dover-film.com

March 29 - 30: Kent Big Weekend
Enjoy a great day out in Kent – for free! The annual giveaway, organised by Visit Kent, offers free admission to more than 100 of the county’s top attractions.

There will be a total of 12,000 tickets up for grabs this year. To register for yours, visit www.mykentbigweekend.co.uk

TBC: English Festival - Gillingham
Get patriotic at the English Festival, held on the closest Saturday to St George’s Day.

The free event will take place at Riverside Country Park in Gillingham. Visit www.visitmedway.org

April 5: Heritage Transport Weekend - Kent Showground
Travel back in time at the event, which will feature a host of vintage vehicles, stalls and entertainment.

The show will incorporate the South East Bus Festival, featuring more than 40 single, double-decker and open top buses from every decade. Visit www.kenteventcentre.co.uk

April 20 - 21: Medway Festival of Steam and Transport - Historic Dockyard, Chatham
It is the 12th year of the two-day event, which combines vehicles, music and entertainment from across the decades. Visit www.thedockyard.co.uk

The Sweeps Festival at Rochester
The Sweeps Festival at Rochester

May 3 - 5: Sweeps Festival - Rochester
Cracking sticks and clumping clogs will herald the start of summer at the Rochester Sweeps Festival.

Dozens of Morris dancers head along to the historic streets for the event first started by sweeps in the 19th century, who would down their brushes on the first of May for a day of fun.

The modern festival is a three-day event featuring music, dance, and a host of other activities and events. Visit www.visitmedway.org

May 3 - 5: Merton Vintage Show - Canterbury
The annual three-day event will feature more than 600 vintage vehicles, along with trade and craft stalls, a car boot sale and auction. Visit www.mertonvintageshow.co.uk

May 30 - June 1: Rochester Dickens Festival
Held every year since 1978, the event celebrates Medway’s associations with author Charles Dickens, who drew several of his characters and settings from his experiences living in the area.

Colourful costumed characters will parade through the High Street every day and street entertainers will regale visitors with Victorian drama, while Rochester Castle Gardens will be transformed into a traditional fun fair. Visit www.rochesterdickensfestival.org.uk

May 31 - June 15: Whitstable Biennale
Whitstable stages a festival every two years of new visual art film and performance, held at venues around the seaside town. Visit www.whitstablebiennale.com

June 6 - 22: South East Open Studios
Love art but feel intimidated walking into a gallery?

For two weeks, artists around Kent will be opening up their studios to the public, providing them with an opportunity to meet them at work in an informal setting. Visit www.seos-art.org

June 7 - 8: Folkestone Airshow
Thousands of visitors are expected to flock to the seaside town for the free two day event, featuring spectacular aeronautical displays.

A freefall parachute team may ‘drop in’ for a visit, a dramatic demo sea rescue will be staged, and there will be live music, dance, and a host of other entertainment and activities. Visit folkestoneairshow.com

June 14 - 20: Broadstairs Dickens Festival
The event was started in 1937 to commemorate the centenary of author Charles Dickens’ first visit to the town.

Gladys Waterer, then resident of Dickens House – now converted into the Dickens Museum Broadstairs – conceived the idea of putting on a production of David Copperfield and having people about the town in Victorian dress to publicise it and the festival has been held annually ever since. Visit www.broadstairsdickensfestival.co.uk

Bengt Iverson at last year's event
Bengt Iverson at last year's event

TBC: Kent Beer Festival - Merton Farm, Canterbury
The three-day hop jamboree draws drinkers from across the county and further afield, eager to sample a wide range of beers and ciders.

The festival will also offer a diverse range of entertainment throughout the weekend. Visit www.kentbeerfestival.com

TBC: Lounge on the Farm, Canterbury
It will be the ninth year of the award-winning music festival, which started with 1,200 people in 2006 and has grown to a capacity of 10,000.

Last year’s performers included Jessie Ware and Seasick Steve. Visit www.loungeonthefarm.co.uk

July 11 - 13: Sandwich Folk and Ale Festival
Dozens of musicians will perform free and ticketed gigs in the pubs and streets of historic Sandwich.

There will also be a free open air gig on a stage set up at the Guildhall’s forecourt. Visit www.sandwichevents.org.uk

Last year's Kent County Show
Last year's Kent County Show

July 11 - 13: Kent County Show - Kent Showground
The three-day annual agricultural extravaganza looks set to be better than ever. With more than 400 stands, live music, a wealth of farming exhibits, dancing sheep and even racing camels – the Kent County Show has it all. Visit kentshowground.co.uk

July 12: Classical Concert - Leeds Castle
The popular night of picnics and patriotic flag-waving will once again feature the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by John Rigby, along with other guests including the Military Wives Choir, and the Patriot Girls.

Audiences will also be able to enjoy aerial displays, military bands, field guns and a stunning fireworks display. Visit www.heritageevents.co.uk

July 12 - 13: Whitstable Regatta
Billed as the oldest sea regatta in the world, visitors will be able to watch events on the water including historic and current sailboat displays and races and a lifeboat rescue demonstration.

There will also be a host of entertainment on and around Tankerton Slopes. Visit whitstableregatta.com

July 16 - 20: War & Peace Revival - Folkestone Racecourse
After a quarter of a century as the War and Peace Show at the Hop Farm in Paddock Wood, last year it was renamed the War and Peace Revival and held at the Westenhanger venue.

More than 100,000 people flocked to the five-day event in July, which included military vehicle displays, trade stands, Living History scenes and a Vintage Village offering period entertainment.

As a result of its success, organisers have announced that it will be returning to Folkestone Racecourse this summer.

The 2014 show will include a performance by Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists the Jive Aces, and the Kent-based John Miller Orchestra. Tickets will be on sale from Monday, January 6. Visit www.warandpeacerevival.co.uk

Sample some tasty seafood at the Whitstable Oyster Festival
Sample some tasty seafood at the Whitstable Oyster Festival

July 26 - August 1: Whitstable Oyster Festival
The world-famous festival celebrates the town’s historic association with oysters, and features a wealth of activities and entertainment including the traditional Landing of the Oysters, where they are brought ashore for a formal blessing and presentation to the Lord Mayor.

The blessed oysters are then passed to inns and restaurants as part of the vibrant Oyster Parade as it travels through the town centre. Visit www.whitstableoysterfestival.com

July 27: Ashford Create Festival
Create has been going for 19 years and is one of the south east’s biggest free music festivals.

It showcases local and national talent in the open-air surroundings of Victoria Park, Ashford. Visit www.createfestival.co.uk

Coby Ifiel and Raif Jones, both four, at last year's crab catching competition in Herne Bay
Coby Ifiel and Raif Jones, both four, at last year's crab catching competition in Herne Bay

TBC: Herne Bay Festival
Launched in 1993, it is aimed at celebrating the town and bringing the community and businesses closer together.

Almost every event is completely free, and offers all ages the opportunity to watch or try something new.

Highlights include the giant family picnic, monster crab catching competition, Herne Bay’s Got Talent and fireworks display. Visit www.hernebayfestival.com

August 8 - 15: Broadstairs Folk Week
Launched back in 1965, it sees hundreds of top musicians perform in theatres and other venues around the town.

There are free pub gigs, as well as hundreds of ticketed concerts and workshops, ranging from circus skills to Appalachian clog dancing. Visit www.broadstairsfolkweek.org.uk

August 16 - 17: Combined Ops - Headcorn Aerodrome
It is the sixth year of the family show, launched to bring together displays of military vehicles and vintage aircraft in one event.

There will be historic Second World War re-enactments, and adults can experience the thrill of military action for themselves by going on a tank ride around the site, while children can try their hand at driving mini tanks on a circuit.

Or why not take a flight in a 1930s vintage Dragon Rapide passenger bi-plane, soaring over the Kent countryside?

There will also be entertainment in the skies, with flights by vintage aircraft and acrobatic aerial displays. Visit www.headcornevents.co.uk

August 23 - 25: Military Odyssey - Kent Showground
The three day celebration of all things military, will feature battles and arena demonstrations along with displays of restored military vehicles and collector markets featuring hundreds of stalls. Visit www.military-odyssey.com

Paula Wilcox and Rich Price as Saxons at last year's Military Odyssey
Paula Wilcox and Rich Price as Saxons at last year's Military Odyssey

August 30 - November: Folkestone Triennial
Held every three years, the project invites artists to use the town as their ‘canvas’, utilising public spaces to create striking new pieces that reflect issues affecting both the town and the wider world.

Artists commissioned to take part in previous triennials include Tracey Emin. Visit www.folkestonetriennial.org.uk

TBC: Food and Drink Festival - Canterbury
Previously the Eurofair, then the Kent Food and Drink Festival, it was renamed in 2012 to celebrate the fact Canterbury is home to some of the finest producers and purveyors of food, drink and craft in the South East.

It features dozens of stalls, selling food and drink and also artisan crafts from across Kent.

TBC: Will Adams Festival - Gillingham
The annual festival is held to celebrate the life of Gillingham-born adventurer Will Adams.

Russell Palmer dressed as a Samurai for the Will Adams Festival
Russell Palmer dressed as a Samurai for the Will Adams Festival

Will sailed to the Far East aboard the Hoop in 1598, while Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne, and is said to be the first Englishman to have reached Japan.

He began trading between the two countries in 1613 and was eventually appointed a samurai. Visit www.visitmedway.org

September 11 - 14 : Heritage Open Days
Part of a national scheme started in 1994, aimed at celebrating England’s extraordinary architecture and culture, Heritage Open Days offers free access to properties that are usually closed to the public or normally charge for admission.

Buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors, and volunteers organise a range of related tours, events and activities. Visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk

September 13 - 14: Southern Model Show - Headcorn Aerodrome
All eyes will be on the skies during a weekend of spectacular full size and model air displays.

And there will be lots for visitors of all ages to enjoy on the ground, including demonstrations of a huge variety of boats, cars and tanks, and dozens of trade stands. Visit www.headcornevents.co.uk

September 20 - 21: Paws in the Park - Kent Showground
The UK’s largest outside event for working, trained and pet dogs, features a host of ‘have a go’ events and fun competitions including flyball, agility and fun scurries.

Animal lovers won't want to miss Paws in the Park
Animal lovers won't want to miss Paws in the Park

There are also exciting arena events and displays. Visit www.pawsinthepark.net

TBC: Anifest - Canterbury
Experience the magic of animation at the annual community event held at venues around the city.

It offers a range of workshops, behind-the-scenes presentations from industry professionals, screenings and family-friendly events. Visit www.canterburyanifest.com

October 3 - 5: Broadstairs Food Festival
The annual event takes place at Victoria Gardens and Victoria Parade on the clifftop overlooking Viking Bay.

Last year’s festival featured more than 100 stalls selling a wide range of Kent produce, cooking demonstrations by top local chefs and live music. Visit www.broadstairsfoodfestival.org.uk

October 18 - November 1: Canterbury Festival
A fortnight celebration of arts and culture held at venues around the city, including a wide range of free and ticketed events, encompassing music, theatre and dance, comedy, science, exhibitions, walks and talks. Visit www.canterburyfestival.co.uk

Fireworks at Leeds Castle
Fireworks at Leeds Castle

Fireworks night always goes off with a pop, a fizz and a bang across Kent.

Highlights include the annual spectacular at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone, where visitors can watch related images projected on to the castle and listen to a specially themed soundtrack of music, while a breathtaking display of fireworks is let off overhead. Visit www.leeds-castle.com

Get into the festive spirit with a host of Christmas events around Kent. Meet Santa at one of his many grottos including at locations such as the Hop Farm at Paddock Wood, and Bluewater shopping centre near Dartford.

Or take a magical journey on the special Christmas trains running on the Kent & East Sussex Railway, Spa Valley Railway, and Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.

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