St Ives May Day
What’s it all about?
Celebrating the end of winter and the coming of spring is a tradition that stretches back hundreds of years in West Cornwall and St Ives rekindled its connection to the past when it revived its May Day festival a few years ago. The event offers fun and excitement for all the family.
At midday at the Guildhall the Grand Bard and Mayor choose the May Queen and King and their attending Prince and Princess, in a ceremony known bizarrely as the “pee whip” The St Ives Guisers, dressed in their traditional black and white "mock formal" make an appearance, horn blowers herald the start of spring and there’ll be May sticks. At 1pm there’s a parade to the harbour where you can watch May pole dances, traditional Cornish dancing and music. Various local choirs and brass bands perform by the harbour throughout the day.
How can you take part?
Parking is plentiful at the top of the town or you can forget the car and take the beautiful branch line off the mainline railway from Penzance. Throughout the May Day celebrations there’s a fish barbeque by the harbour and for some local shopping a lively harbour market where you can stock up on some of the region’s produce.
Did you know?
St Ives is famous for being the epicentre of Cornish art. It was here that one of the biggest art movements of the 20th century was born, so during your visit include a wander through the old streets checking out the many art galleries.