There’s one thing that we’ve noticed since living in Cornwall is that they *love* their festivals. Maybe we just didn’t notice them in Lancashire, but particularly here in west Cornwall there is a seemingly never-ending schedule of parades, memorial days, mini festivals and everything else that means the town is buzzing with school kids dressed in various costumes and the smell of candyfloss and fried foods fills the air.
I did read in a survey somewhere or other that this specific part of Cornwall (Camborne, Pool, Redruth) identifies most strongly as ‘Cornish’ and perhaps that’s why it’s so evident. Camborne becomes full of steam engines and folk dancers for Trevithick Day, just down the road the people of Helston dance through the streets on Flora Day, Penzance has Golowan, and here in Redruth we have the wonders of the Mining and Pasty Festival and Murdoch Day.
Murdoch Day celebrates not the Australian behemoth Rupert, but the inventor William, who though Scottish, moved to Redruth to work in steam engineering and in 1792 installed the first gas lighting in the home. His former house is now one of Redruth’s only tourist attractions, and his memory is celebrated every year in June.
Fore Street is filled with stall holders selling all sorts of traditional, and not-so, bits and bobs, including pasties, pasty fridge magnets, Piran flags, and arts and crafts. School children parade up the steep high street along with traditional and slightly bizarre folk dancers. There’s performances on in the pubs and the whole of the town centre is full, which is a lovely sight. Of course, the cynic in me says that it’s any excuse to spend the day drinking outside, especially on a nice summer day, but it’s evident that the people of ‘druth are truly proud of their little town, despite the reputation that perhaps precedes it.
I hope that one day I put down roots long enough to get involved in events like this, but for now, I’m enjoying being a grockly bystander! (and perhaps I’ll get some better pictures next year…)