What’s it all about?
In the late 1800s, Golowan was one of the last surviving midsummer festivals practiced in Cornwall. Traditionally, blazing tar barrels were paraded around the town’s streets and bonfires were lit on the surrounding hills which could be seen all around Mounts Bay and beyond. In the 1890s the authorities in Penzance outlawed the festival due to the increasing fire risk and the centuries’ old festival died out. Revived in 1991, The Golowan Festival has today become the most colourful community festival in the South West,
The festival brings the past and present together in a community celebration of the traditional midsummer Feast of St John. The festival has a packed programme of artists in celebration of music, performing arts and theatre.
The festivities start on Thursday, June 22, with the Mock Mayor elections. The election of a Mock Mayor is British folk tradition found in a number of communities throughout the British Isles. Essentially a Mock Mayor is an individual who is elected by a popular informal assembly of individuals as a parody of the official office of Mayor in any given communityabove pic from Big Tow.
The festival is one big celebration,
There is much to see and do, traditional music, the St John’s Eve Serpent Dances when everyone joins hands and snakes through the streets. The Quay Fair where stalls sell local food, arts and crafts, the Mock Mayor Elections and the Summer Fire celebrations featuring a spectacular firework display. One of the highlights of the festival is Mazey Day (24-25 June 2017) when the streets of Penzance are decorated with greenery and locals and school children dressed in colourful costumes process around the town carrying spectacular sculptures based on local themes including giant fish, ships and pirates. For more information on this you can visit www.visitcornwall.com.
In 2011 the festival broke the record for the largest number of pirates in one place at the same time, as recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. 8, 734 people arrived on Penzance seafront dressed as Pirates smashing the previous record of 6,166.
Video of fireworks taken by daughter in law Jazz.
Pic below sitting on the quayside wall. To the right just out of sight was the big lighted arm of one of the funfair rides.
We set off around 10.15 pm and drove down to Penzance finding plenty of parking right on the quayside where the fireworks took place, in st Antony’s carpark, £1.50 to park at that time of night. It was drizzling but spirits were high and gradually the low wall all around the harbour began to fill with people, it was nice to see lots of families with children even at that time of night. The fireworks began at 10.45 pm. As the countdown marked by 3 minute apart single blast of fireworks began the chatter of the crowds died down in anticipation of the spectacle about to begin.
If there is one thing Cornwall is great at it is celebrating and fireworks
We were treated to almost 25 minutes of a brilliant dazzling firework display, everyone cheered and clapped at the end. As we began to make a move, beside us a small drama of its own was unfurling, as a lady in small group beside us leaned heavily into the arms of the coastguard on duty as she had gone into labour during the display and was desperately trying to locate someone who was lost to her among the crowds all making their way back through the carpark. Bless her and welcome to the amazing world little one.