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Beat the legendary Giant at St Agnes Bolster Festival

The days of giants may be long gone in the rest of the UK, but they live on in Cornwall especially at the annual St Agnes Bolster Festival. Join in the fun firing clay houses and watch the pageant about the legendary Giant Bolster!
There are not many places in the UK that can boast the defeat of a giant called Bolster, but that’s what the St Agnes Bolster Festival is all about! It takes place on four days of the May Day Bank Holiday with plenty of music and activities for all ages to enjoy.

Lookout for the Giant at the St Agnes Bolster Festival!

The centre of attention at the St Agnes Bolster Festival is the 28-foot high giant figure of Bolster. Cornish legend has it that he was one of several marauding giants that terrorized the community long ago. As in all good stories, Bolster would appear from time to time and eat little children. The whole story of the giant’s demise is re-enacted each year (minus the consumption of small children, of course!)

Prior to the event, St Agnes locals get together in a Clay Workshop to make model houses ready to be fired as part of the festival. Other creative hands join the Lantern Workshop to make paper lanterns to light the procession.

The annual May Day weekend festival starts with a lantern procession through the streets of St Agnes as far as the St Agnes Beacon. It takes place on the Bank Holiday Saturday at around 8:15pm.

Once the beacon is reached, everyone gathers around a bonfire and enjoys a barbecue. However, that’s just the start of the event. As part of the evening, the clay house models are fired in the flames and are used later in the weekend events to symbolize the village of St Agnes.

Clifftop drama as the Giant Bolster is defeated

The following day, the Bolster Pageant takes place starting at 12:30pm from the Railway Inn. The brave knight Sir Constantine parades through the streets along with his drummers, dressed in red and black, searching for the giant Bolster. The colourful re-enactment ends when he confronts the giant effigy on the clifftop above Chapel Porth Beach.

It’s a fun event to witness and lasts for about 45 minutes. Life-sized puppets are used to portrait the local characters such as the Mayor, Sir Constantine and even Mrs Bolster! Once the giant has been slain the Bolster drum band and other local musicians lead the way to the National Trust car park and Chapel Porth Beach where refreshments and entertainment provides a fitting end to the drama.

This is a great day out for families with children who will be mesmerised by the giant puppets. Adults can enjoy an evening of entertainment and live music in the village in the evening.

Local info about St Agnes Beacon

If you have never visited St Agnes, it is a gorgeous spot on the north coast of Cornwall. The village is located between Perranporth and Porthtowan which are both known for their beautiful beaches.

The St Agnes Beacon is a local landmark on top of the headland which is now owned by the National Trust. The Beacon stands 629 feet above the surrounding countryside in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If you climb to the top there are fantastic views as far as St Ives to the south and the lovely harbour at Padstow to the north.

One fun thing to do from St Agnes Beacon is to count the number of church towers that mark each small community in the surrounding area. Altogether there are 32 church towers to be seen on a good day!

Can you add any more information about the giant Bolster, the Beacon or the charming village of St Agnes? We’d love to add more local information to our blog – do share!

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

Find Gillian on Google+, and Twitter.

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