One of the things I love about living in Cornwall is how insular the place can be.
It’s often seen as a weakness to be rooted out at all costs but I fully believe we will never truly be able to think on a Global scale if we don’t understand the very ‘Local’. And, while Cornwall may be branded as inward looking, we also have the widest horizons.
Cornwall has been a place of trade and travel for thousands of years, from the ancient trading with North Africa and the Mediterranean in pre-Roman times right through to the Twenty First Century where travellers from all over the World still come to Cornwall.
And the Cornish travel, they have travelled all over the World and brought back ideas and ways of thinking that made this place one of the most innovative and most welcoming places on earth.
From the wide open Cornwall of the Summer months we move into the more introspective Autumn and Winter.
There are still plenty of huge events that bring in visitors from all over Britain and beyond but these are peppered with smaller festivals and events that are deeply personal and iconic to the communities that hold them.
You cannot see them all, the bonfires, the markets, the music, the food, the drink, the singing, the parades and the Christmas lights. You will miss more Santa Fun Runs than you will catch and there are too many ‘Switch Ons’ to see. It’s the time to pick your own local festivals.
There are so many to choose from, the list on my desk has events in Feock, St Mawgan, Looe, Calstock Helston, Boscastle, Callington, Penryn, Launceston, St Blazey, Madron, The Lizard, Camelford, St Austell, Penzance, Angarrack, Lostwithiel, Bodmin, St Ives, Saltash, Tehidy, Illogan, Redruth, Lelant, Hayle, Torpoint, Fowey, Liskeard, Padstow, Wadebridge, Truro, Mousehole, Falmouth, Newquay, Marazion, Helston, Camborne, Penzance and Cawsand and I am very aware that trying to name them all is like trying to wheel smoke in a wire wheelbarrow.
We are good at being together in Cornwall, we are good at Celebrating together too.
For my family the colder, darker nights mean Kehelland Apple Day, Truro City of Lights, Rogue Theatre in the Woods and Redruth Christmas Lights. We will visit Lowender Peran for a dose of Music and Dance, we will watch things burn at Heartlands and we usually find ourselves singing down Mousehole. There will be others as well but these are the essential beat points that bring in Christmas, as important as any ceremony or visit of the year.
We are the stories we tell about ourselves, or so Old Man Winter says, and the festivals we visit are the backdrop to my families story.
It’s what we do and it’s who we are.
All across Cornwall people are re-enforcing their own stories, their own ceremonies of the darkening nights.
In times of uncertainty, when our place in Britain or Europe is changing, it is good to re-connect to who we are and where we are from.
From here we can take on the World.
Read on for a peek at Jack’s list of festivals and events this Autumn/Winter:
Inland Art Festival
21 – 23 October
A contemporary art festival, which animates the town of Redruth once every two years. Inland’s ambitious free programme showcases internationally acclaimed and emerging regional art. There will be screenings, performances and interactive installations in unexpected locations and events from family workshops to talks for practitioners.
Visit the Inland Art Festival website.
Dead of Night Dance
22 – 30 October
A wicked and wonderful Halloween celebration with theatre and adventure, thrills, frights, and delights where short stories play out on Mrs Logan’s stage in a ghoulish spook show! With a wild blend of imagination, magic and macabre humour, the Dead of Night Dance mixes live music, storytelling, dance and a twist of spectacle.
Visit the Rogue Theatre website.
Trafalgar Thanksgiving Service and Parade
The Halloween Masked Ball
A Halloween show like no other, alongside a surreal and strange sideshow of fairground follies, rock ‘n’ roll dancing and freak show craziness, inspired by the kooky, retro beach resort of Coney Island in New York.
Visit The Halloween Masked Ball website.
Visit the Camelford Community website.
Lowender Peran Festival
2 – 6 November
This festival is packed with concerts, ceilidhs, workshops, storytelling, and a Celtic craft market. Bring your dancing shoes or sit back and enjoy the entertainment around you.
Visit the Lowendar Peran website.
Cornwall Film Festival
The Poly & Newlyn Film House
2 – 13 November
Cornwall Film Festival returns to showcase the best of film, from Cornwall and beyond. This year the festival starts at The Poly in Falmouth, before a final weekend at Newlyn Film House.
Visit the Cornwall Film Festival website.
Heartlands Bonfire and Fireworks
The sky will light up as Heartlands invites the community to join with family, friends and neighbours to enjoy an evening of fireworks, bonfire and entertainment at the 19 acre cultural playground.
Visit the Heartlands website.
St Austell Torchlight Carnival
St Austell comes alive with live bands, stalls, music, processions and dance to celebrate the beginning of winter.
Visit the St Austell Torchlight Carnival website.
Truro City of Lights
A magical winter festival to start the festive season, with music, dance, and procession of beautiful lanterns made by local schools, community groups and artists.
Visit the Truro City of Lights website.
St Austell Brewery Celtic Beer Festival
Santa Series 2016 – Cornwall Hospice Care
All over Cornwall: Bodmin, Marazion, Truro, Wadebridge, Padstow, Newquay, Falmouth, Helston
26 November – 17 December
Santa’s are coming to a town near you… choose from 8 events across Cornwall where you can run, walk, cycle or surf!
Visit the Cornwall Hospice Care website.
Father Christmas’ Arrival
Father Christmas sails into St Ives from the North Pole! He’ll be greeted by the RNLI who give him a safe passage into the harbour on the evening tide before parading through the town on his sleigh with musicians and entertainers to meet up with his reindeer.
Visit the St Ives In December website.
Padstow Christmas Festival
1 – 4 December
This festival showcases Padstow at its best, bringing together chefs, culinary delights and festive fun to celebrate Christmas in a beautiful waterside setting.
Visit the Padstow Christmas Festival website.
Truro Victorian Christmas Fair
13 – 18 December
A hugely popular event with 70 exhibitors all in full period costume. Food, drink, arts, crafts and gifts come together under one marquee, decorated to feel like a Victorian street market – there’s even a live animal pen!
Saltash Christmas Festival
See Fore Street transformed into a Christmassy pedestrian wonderland, with snow in the air and stilt walkers on the ground. The market showcases a fabulous range of Christmas gifts – and Santa’s on Bikes are not to be missed!
Visit the Saltash Christmas Festival event page.
Liskeard Lights Up
Liskeard’s annual winter carnival is always a magical evening. There will be a procession of lanterns followed by the switching on of the Christmas lights and a firework display.
Visit the Visit Liskeard website.
7 – 30 December
A theatrical festive woodland adventure through the beautiful trees of Tehidy Woods. Pass through the Woodland Gate and follow the twisting path. Let the faeries and woodland spirits lead the way with stories and songs. Follow the wandering path and meet Old Man Winter who will weave a tale and reveal the path to your fantastical destination, an enchanted celebration, and a wondrous festivity of wintry marvels.
Visit the Rogue Theatre website.
Lostwithiel Dickensian Night
On a cold, dark evening in mid December, Lostwithiel lights up with its Dickensian Evening. The evening begins with a lantern parade led by Lostwithiel Town Band, and shops in the town are open late with shopkeepers dressed in Victorian garb.
Visit the Lostwithiel website.
Fowey Christmas Market
9 – 11 December
Fowey ushers in the festive season with a weekend of festive entertainment, food and drink, and the perfect opportunity to pick up some unique Christmas gifts.
Visit the Fowey Christmas Market website.
Forth Sen Mighal: A Pilgrimage
Visit the St Michael’s Way website.
Camborne Christmas Lantern Parade
Mousehole Christmas Lights
17 December – 7 January
Visit the Mousehole Lights website.
Nativity in the Square
Chapel Street, Camborne
Cornwall Harmony Choir – Christmas Eve
More details to be confirmed soon!
Jack is the FEAST project manager and was born in Redruth, about six hundred yards from where his desk is now. Visit FEAST’s website.