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Something for all tastes at the Mevagissey Feast Week!

Mevagissey Feast Week is the oldest surviving Festival in Cornwall. It takes place the last week in June with a parade, boat races & quayside entertainment.
Many towns celebrate with a Restaurant Week or Food and Drink Festival, but Mevagissey goes one better with Mevagissey Feast Week. This blend of traditional and contemporary activities brings hundreds of visitors to its narrow streets during the last week in June / early July.

History of Mevagissey Feast Week

has a special place in Cornish history as it is thought to be the longest surviving festival in Cornwall. Originally it was held in December, but this was a busy time in the fishing season, so in 1752 the town adopted St Peter as its patron saint and decided to move the event to his feast day on 29 June.

If you are looking for family entertainment, music and fun, this is a great event to attend, although you must be prepared for crowded streets. The town packs in all the local community as well as thousands of tourists who return to this lovely area year after year.

Fish Festival, food and fun for all ages

Mevagissey Feast Week covers pretty much everything you might be looking for in a Cornish cultural event. There are exhibitions of art, cookery demonstrations, live musical entertainment indoors and out, and of course lots of fish-themed menus to work through. Choirs, bands, a Floral Dance (probably not what you think it is!), parades and children’s entertainment such as face painting fill each day.

The first Sunday of the event is Fish Festival when many colourful trawlers and decorated fishing boats cram into the old harbour. After the Big Fish Parade, the Fruits of the Sea display show the many types of fish caught by Mevagissey fishermen before the big fish auction begins. Fish cakes and other fish dishes are served up on roadside stalls and I can tell you they are quite delicious. The Fish Festival ends with bands playing live music on the quayside.

At the heart of the festival is a colourful parade, a fete, boat and raft races in the harbour and a huge fireworks display. It’s a feast of entertainment as much as a Feast of Food.

The enclosed inner harbour has a wide quay where you will find many of the water-based activities. Try crab catching with a line and bait, watch the fishing boat races or sit on one of the many benches with a Kelly’s ice cream and listen to band music.

Speaking of good food, the old on the harbourside serves wonderful food and real ale in a charming olde-worlde atmosphere if you can squeeze through the door in Mevagissey Feast Week, that is!

Back on the street there is a traditional Floral Dance when locals dress up and dance through the streets to the traditional tune made famous by Terry Wogan among others. The Ceilidh is more energetic with traditional square dancing and a caller to guide willing partners through the series of do-si-dos, circles and passes.

The week of fun ends with a Carnival on Saturday afternoon and a spectacular fireworks display over the harbour. The best place to see this is from the little park off Polkirt Hill.

More things to do in Mevagissey

If you are staying in the area, don’t miss a visit to the local museum. There is a tribute to local resident , who lived in the town in the 1700s. He trained as a barber then decided to seek his fortune in London. He set up a barber business in London and made his own mild soap which became very popular with his upper class clients. He called his product Pears Soap and it did indeed make him a fortune!

As well as the Feast Week activities there are one-hour boat trips from the harbour. They include some stunning coastal scenery and the chance to trail a fishing line and catch some mackerel to take home for tea. The town also has a small aquarium with fish and other assorted exhibits of things pulled up from the seabed, and for railway enthusiasts there is a model railway layout.

Have you experienced Mevagissey Feast Week, perhaps as a local in the town? How would you describe it to someone wanting to visit? And where would you suggest visitors find the very best “Feast”? Please post your comments below.

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.

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