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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:

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.
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.
Cornish CottagesThe 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: 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. "

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.

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) , Falmouth & St Mawes Castle. Events throughout the year. Tel:01326 212044.


Falmouth Festival of Literature & Arts, based at the Falmouth Arts Centre, with some events taking place around the town. It will be held on Friday 9th, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th September 2005, with an exciting and extensive programme for all ages.
Mousehole Maritime Festival of Sea Salts & Sail. Sea Salts and Sail is a bi-anually run maritime festival held in the Cornish Village of Mousehole.
Stithians Show 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, Held in late July each year. Fairground, craft fair, motor fair, helicopter rides, stalls and attractions. Tel: 01326 574121 Ext 2460/1.
St Endellion Summer Festival, Port Isac. Classical music festival. Details; 01208 850463
Falmouth Classics. 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. 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 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.
St Ives September Festival 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.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

Falmouth Oyster Festival. 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. 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.
Tom Bawcock's Eve, December 23: Mousehole, a procession and Star-Gazey Pie is eaten. 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 and the pubs are very "merry places". Click to see a painting of Star-Gazey Pie.
December/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. The purpose of the display is to raise money for charity which gives an accurate insight as to the nature of the people who live in Mousehole. Magical! Photo by Charles Winpenny.



Charis Cottage | Tigh-na-Mara | Cornwall | What to do | Festivals & events | History | Prehistory | Present Day | Cornish Language | St Piran & the Cornish Flag |

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