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Celebrate the Summer Solstice at the Polperro Festival

The Polperro Festival had been celebrated for decades as part of the Summer Solstice. Now a thriving arts & cultural heritage event, it offers fun for all.
Imagine combining a Village Carnival, a Comedy Night, Treasure Hunt, Solstice bonfire, parades, street theatre and dancing into one huge event and you would probably end up with the Polperro Festival.

This nine-day festival starts the second weekend in June and includes the Summer Solstice and Midsummer’s Day. This comprehensive festival of Cornish culture is a must-do for anyone living or staying in southeast Cornwall.

The history of the Polperro Festival

The is set in the delgithful Cornish fishing village of , best known for its narrow streets (just a handcart wide in places!) and whitewashed fisherman’s cottage stacked up the hillside. It celebrates the local culture and community with shows, exhibitions, activities, classes and fantastic food and drink.

The Festival has been a tradition for centuries in the village at midsummer and the annual festival was revived in 1996 as a music and arts-themed event. In 2014 the themed for the festival is “Love Polperro”.

Polperro is well known as an artists’ haven and several talented artists live in this quaint and scenic village. There are always some lovely artworks on display if you are looking for a gift or souvenir of your holiday. Part of the Polperro Festival is an Art and Artists Day where you can visit art exhibitions and meet the local artisans.

Music and dance at the Polperro Festival

Music is a big part of the festival, so expect to enjoy local bands playing, choirs, singers and even a string quartet livening up proceedings. The marquee on the green hosts concerts by several bands with something for all tastes from the to the local group, Southern Jelly. Polperro is full of quaint smugglers inns and pubs and they all put on live music and entertainment each evening, so you can just enjoy a pub crawl until you find something that suits.

Dancing is the natural accompaniment to lively music, and part of this Polperro Music and Arts Festival is given over to folk dancing. During the day you will find teams of Morris dancers jingling bells and clashing sticks in the main street. It has become something of a festival tradition for Morris dancers from all over and to do spontaneous performances, especially on the two weekends. They are also very good at involving bystanders, so you may get the chance to hop and skip yourself.

Throughout the Polperro festival the local bakeries, cafés, pubs, shops and restaurants put on an excellent spread of local food from crab rolls to more contemporary cuisine. Enjoy a warm pasty sitting on the harbour wall or sit on a terrace above the street and enjoy a clotted cream tea in style.

Watch the Mock Mayor Ceremony

Pick up a souvenir programme if you are in the area in early June to find out the exact where and when of the main events. Previous years have been packed with fun events for all ages. As well as the Village Carnival and parade there is a Mock Mayor Ceremony. This involves the choosing of a mayor who is then wheeled through the streets stopping at each inn before being dunked in the harbour!

Join in coastal walks with a guide who will tell you about the natural wildlife and stories about local families, pubs and buildings. Of course all the usual shops, boat trips and harbour attractions are available during this action-packed week.

The Arts and Crafts Fair has a range of stalls and on the evening of Midsummer’s Eve, a Solstice Bonfire is lit. Other evening events include Polperro’s Got Talent and a Comedy Night with a programme of up-and-coming talent.

Have you been part of the Polperro Festival in the past? When did you visit and what did you see? Was parking a problem when you visited? We appreciate you sharing your experiences in the comments box.

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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