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Festivals and events in Cornwall
Cornwall is a special county that is rich in traditions. You will find something for everyone here, from the bawdy and pagan to the refined and cultured. Please email us if you would like an event added to this list. Click on the festival name to go to a page with more information. Go directly to the month you are interested in: April/May/JuneJuly/August/SeptemberOctober/November/December

January/February/March:
Cornish Cottages: HurlingFebruary: Hurling. St Ives on the nearest Sunday to the 3rd February and at St Columb on Shrove Tuesday and the Saturday of the following week. "Hurling the Silver Ball" is a rowdy medieval game. At St Columb the struggle is a physical battle between "Town and Country" with the shops in the town barricading their windows and doors for the start of the scrum at 4.30 p.m. Hurling at St Ives is a much more staid affair with mostly children taking part, the hurling starts with the ball being carried to the holy well of St Ia at Porthmeor where it is blessed. The contest itself is between old rivals "uplong & downlong" and continues until noon when the players are rewarded with coins thrown from the guildhall balcony. Of the last two remaining hurls in the county it is St Columb that has maintained the greatest following with hundreds taking part.

Official Opening of National Maritime Museum Falmouth. 14 March 2003 Tel: 01326 311277 The Official Opening of the National Maritime Museum by the Duke Of York.

March/April: St. Endellion Easter Festival of Music. Port Issac, North Cornwall, England. Music from a variety of composers and eras compliment this series of performance. The beautiful setting for this festival is the the collegiate Church of St. Endellion.

Mousehole Cornish CottageThe Cornwall Spring Garden Festival runs from about March to the end of May and is a riot of perfumed colour. Exotic blooms, tree ferns and bananas, early flowering daffodils and eight foot high Brazilian 'rhubarb' - all thrive in Cornwalls sub-tropical climate.

April/May/June:
April: Trevithick Day. The last Saturday in April is a big day in the town of Camborne. Born in nearby Pool, Richard Trevithick invented the steam locomotive as well as the screw propeller. Parades include bands, dancing and steam engines.

Cornish Cottages: Obby OssMay 1: Padstow 'Obby 'Oss. Padstow has become famous the world over for its May Day festival that has it's roots back in the fourteenth century. The atmosphere created by the beating of the drums in the flag decked streets with the wheeling oss, one red and one blue, makes Padstow's May Day celebrations the finest in the country. The 'oss may be described as grotesque masked creature but defies further description. If you are in Cornwall on the first day of May, don't miss it. The song is sung to a mainly drum and accordian accompaniament:

"Unite and unite and let us all unite,
For summer is acome unto day,
And whither we are going we will all unite,
In the merry morning of May. "

May Day Festival, St Ives. 02 May - 05 May 2003 Tel: (01736) 796297 Street entertainment and various stalls.

Gwinear Show 03 May - 03 May 2003 Near Hayle Tel: (01209) 711538 An annual horse show held near Hayle.

Cornish Cottages: Hal-an-TowMay 8: Helston Flora Day The origins of the dance are pre-Christian and are connected with ancient spring festivals all over Europe. The first dance through the town is at 7.00 a.m with the Children's Dance. At 8.30 there's the mummers'play known as the Hal-an-Tow (photo), at several venues throughout the town. Watch St George and St Michael slay the Dragon and the Devil, cheered on by a crowd dressed in Lincoln green and Elizabethan robes (they are "Spanish maidens" and the author was one in the 70's, along with dancing the furry dance with her brother!) Before you go, learn the chorus for the Hal-an-Tow:

"Hal an tow jolly rumbelow
We were up long before the day-o
To welcome in the summer,
To welcome in the May-o
The summer is a-coming in
And winter's gone away-o"

The main dance starts at the Guildhall at midday. About fifteen thousand dancers take part dancing in and out of the houses in front of a crowd of over forty thousand. Arrive in the town early to be sure of a good view. Held on the 8th of May each year unless the 8th falls on a Sunday or a Monday, in which case it is held on the Saturday of the proceeding week. Also large fair and market. Try and squeeze into the Blue Anchor pub, they brew their own beer called Spingo. Beware, their Easter and Xmas Special is 7.6%! Here is a page on Inns and Taverns in Helston.

Run to the Sun Festival 23 May - 26 May 2003 Newquay. Tel: 01637 851851 An Annual VW Motor Rally held at Trevelgue, Newquay.

Cornish Cottages: GolowanEvery Midsummer (mid June) Golowan Festival Penzance. Golowan is celebrated - twelve days of music, theatre and events. Golowan is one of Europe's oldest community festivals and is recorded in the earliest history of Penzance. Golowan – The Ancient Midsummer Feast of John – is Cornish for John's Feast. Gol = Feast or Vigil, Owan or Jowan = John. For more information contact 01736 332211.

Cornish Cottages: Pendennis CastlePendennis Castle (right) Events throughout the summer. Tel. 01326 316594

Royal Cornwall Show 05 June - 07 June 2003 Wadebridge Tel: 01208 812183 An Annual Country Agricultural Show held at Wadebridge. Various exhibition stands and stalls.

St Day Feast 30 June - 30 June 2003 Local bands parade the the town, followed by an old fashioned tea treat.

July/August/September:
September 12 to 14 2003 will see the first Falmouth Festival of Literature & Arts, taking place in the grounds of Pendennis Castle, Cornwall. Over the three days you can hear a broad spectrum of writers and artists talking about their work in the Pendennis Marquee; take a look around the unique gallery space displaying diverse works of art by contemporary local artists; or settle down with a coffee and a good read in the Conservatory bar.

Mousehole Maritime Festival of Sea Salts & Sail.

Stithians Show Mid July. One of the largest and oldest one day shows in the country. Horses, Cattle, Domestic, Horticulture, Poultry, Dogs, Goats, Young Farmers, Cage Birds, Rabbits and Sheep. The Show is run by local people. A Grand Evening Concert is held every Show Day in the marquee.

RNAS Culdrose Air Day, Helston, 16 July 2003 . Tel: 01326 574121 Ext 2460/1.

St Endellion Summer Festival, 27 July - 08 August 2003 Port Isac. Classical music festival. Details; 01208 850463

Hayle Heritage Festival 26 July - 03 August 2003 Tel: 01736 757043 Summer Art , Horticulture Show, Old Cornwall Society exhibition, traditional music and dancing events also Cornish Wrestling.

St Keverne Ox Roast 06 August - 06 August 2003 Stalls, entertainment and a torchlight procession.

Angel Conference Saturday, August 30 - Sunday, August 31, 2003 St Johns Hall  Penzance. £50 weekend ticket. A weekend of angelic fun with well known angel speakers, angel stalls, workshops, music, fun and laughter.

St Mawes Carnival Week First Week of August - includes production by St Mawes Players, Mini-Marathon, quizzes, walking treasure hunt, childrens sports and carnival on the Saturday.

Falmouth Carnival, 16 August 2003 Tel: 01326 319126.

Penryn Town Fair Held on the last Saturday in August each year.

Falmouth Classics. 09 August 2003. Well known in traditional boating circles throughout Europe as one of the premiere events of the season, attracting over 250 vessels each year. A Classics Concert is now a well established feature of the sailing weekend. Contact Mike Rangecroft 01326 211555

Falmouth Regatta Week. 10 August - 16 August 2003 Highlight of the yachting calendar in the Estuary, a series of regattas hosted by each of the sailing clubs around the Carrick Roads catering for every class of boat and attracting around 500 entries, many from outside the county. A full social programme runs each evening ashore in the regatta marquee and features soul bands, barn dance, Caribbean evening, 70’s night, children’s entertainment is also provided during the day. Contact Mike Rangecroft 01326 211555

Newlyn Fish Festival 25 August 2003. A celebration of this major port's importance in terms of the fishing industry. The fish market is filled with stalls, cookery demonstrations, exhibitions and displays relating to fishing heritage as well as Celtic entertainment. For more details contact Mrs Jenkin/ Mr Kemp 01736 363499.

Cornish Game & Country Fair 24 August 2003 Stithians. Tel: 01872 273366 A Country Fair held at Stithians Showground, with stalls and entertainment.

Helston Harvest Fair 30 August - 01 September 2003 Tel: 01326 572063 Three days of events including a carnival on Saturday and Harvest Fair on Monday.

Falmouth Festival of Literature and Art Friday, September 12 - Sunday, September 14, 2003 A festival of literature and arts over three days, in the grounds of Pendennis Castle

St Ives September Festival September. Evolved over the years to its present form of a high quality mix of music and arts based around the beautiful town and harbour of St Ives, which has been a great attraction to may artists and creative people over the last century. Includes performances of classical, folk, jazz and modern music as well as poetry, book readings and art exhibitions. For more details contact the Festival Office on 01736 796888.

Bolingey September Fayre. September. The fayre is a revival of St Piran’s Feast, a major event which was held in Bolingey late into the last century. The fayre is a celebration of local heritage and includes a ceili, live traditional music and dance, crafts, stalls, lamb roast and games. For details phone Geoff on 01872 573193

October/November/December:
Falmouth Oyster Festival. Early October. This festival celebrates the start of the new oyster season and the worlds last oyster dredging fleet to work under sail alone. A ‘Made in Cornwall’ craft fair, cookery demonstrations and live music have been recent additions to the festival, which continues to grow from strength to strength.

Lowender Peran. October Festival of the Celts.This festival is a well established cultural event based in Perranporth, and draws musicians, dancers and poets from across the Celtic nations. The festival encourages recognition of Cornwall’s heritage and Celtic links as a vibrant, living tradition that people of all ages and background can participate in and enjoy. Lowender Peran hosts a week long programme of concerts, displays, ceilis and workshops providing a wide range of entertainment as well as an opportunity to actively participate.

Camborne Music FestivaNovember Tel: 01209 313557 An Annual 6 day festival.

December 23: Mousehole celebrates Tom Bawcock's Eve, a procession takes place with fish lanterns and Star-Gazey Pie. Celebrated in memory of a local fisherman, Tom Bawcock, who many years ago during a Christmas of terrible food shortages, went to sea in a lull between storms and returned with a healthy catch of "seven sorts of fish". From these, the villagers made Starry Gazey Pie, complete with fish heads protruding from the crust. On Bawcock's Eve today, local children parade through the village carrying brightly lit fish lanterns, and the pubs are very "merry places". Click to see a painting of Star-Gazey Pie.

Mousehole Cornish Cottage: Christmas LightsDecember/January: The famous Mousehole Christmas Lights (pronounced "Mowzel") are switched on from December until early January. A popular annual event every Christmas, the people of Mousehole decorate their houses and the harbour with Christmas lights and decorations. As a result, visitors flock from all over the UK and beyond to enjoy the festival of lights. Magical! Photo by Charles Winpenny.

 

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