The unusually named Lafrowda Festival takes place over two weeks from the first Friday in July. It is hosted in the delightful village of St Just in Penwith and it takes its name from the original Cornish name for the church lands on which the village now stands.
As Cornwall is frequently the setting for films, dramas, historical maritime sets and documentaries, it is very appropriate that the theme for the 2014 Lafrowda Festival is “Lights… Camera… Action!”
The Lafrowda Arts Festival was started in 1996 and is now a much-anticipated local event. It runs for just over two weeks, including three weekends, in early July. The festival has slowly evolved from a music festival into a full-blown arts festival and the final Saturday is actually known as Lafrowda Day.
What to expect if you plan to visit the Lafrowda Festival
The aims of the Lafrowda Festival are to celebrate local heritage and showcase some of the theatrical, artistic and musical talents in the area. Most of the outdoor events are held in the Plen an Gwarry, an ancient amphitheatre where mystery plays were once performed. Just follow the colourful bunting!
The exciting programme of events is certainly not dull and predictable. Events as eclectic as willow image-making, pop-up tattoo parlours, handicrafts, quizzes, dancing and a procession all add up to making this a festival where absolutely anything can happen!
The event starts with a Moving Picnic on the Monday before the festival. Diners visit one venue for cocktails, another for soup and so on for different courses. Tickets are required, but at £15 for several courses and a cocktail they are pretty good value.
Planned events include a Quiz Night at the Queens Arms in Botallack, for teams of up to 5 players. The second Saturday sees willing workers gather for a Lantern Making Workshop in preparation for the Lantern Parade which takes place after dark and is lit by glowing lantern images. Join in the Willow Workshops during the week where you can help to construct willow images for the procession.
On Saturday night there is the Freckly Come Dancing at the Cape Cornwall School which is well worth getting tickets for. Last year St Just's firemen stole the limelight, stripping off to show what they really wear beneath their waterproofs – pink tutus and ballet tights. The audience howled with laughter as these butch guys danced the Sugar Plum Fairy. Encore please, boys! More dancing follows on Sunday with a ceilidh.
Lantern processions at St Just
The Big Day is Lafrowda Day, the grand finale which includes several processions carrying woven willow giants. There are two stages for live bands plus street theatre, food, stalls and games for all ages.
As well as the main Community Procession on the final Saturday, one of my family's favourite moments is the cute Children's Procession. After dark the festival ends with a beautiful Lantern Procession of locals carrying illuminated lanterns in many shapes and sizes. Seeing the huge ethereal shapes is truly magical!
The delightful village of St Just in Penwith
Often referred to simply as St Just (although not to be confused with St Just in Roseland), St Just in Penwith is close to Sennen and just seven miles west of Penzance. With two weeks of fun-filled nights and days, it's a great place to rent a holiday cottage in early July and join in the free family entertainment.
Located on Cape Cornwall, St Just in Penwith is often referred to as the first and last town in England, although the nearby hamlet of Land's End is actually slightly further south and west.
Have you ever visited St Just in Penwith, the “First and Last Town” in England? What did you find to do in the town? If you've attended the Lafrowda Festival we'd love you to add your local knowledge and impressions in the comments box below. Please don't be shy!