What’s on this month in Cornwall
PUBLISHED: 14:25 26 February 2019
We pick some of the best events, festivals, days out and performances happening in Cornwall in March 2019
World Pasty Championship
Bakers from around the world are heading for the Eden Project to find the upper crust in the eighth World Pasty Championships where big winners from previous years will compete against newcomers for coveted trophies at the home of the famous Biomes.
Among the returning champions is Gillian Francis from St Cleer, who scooped top prize in the Cornish Pasty Amateur category last year, having only learned to crimp a fortnight earlier. Before entering the competition, teaching assistant Gillian had been trying out her pasties on her three sons but had not mastered crimping so called next door and asked her neighbour to show her how it should done. Gillian went on to share her baking and crimping skills on TV with The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain.
Another big winner from last year was the American Pure Pasty Co, based in Virginia, who were victorious in the Open Savoury Company category with a barbecue chicken pasty with sweet potato and pineapple. Other competitors from America this year are the Land’s End Pasty Co from the Dinkytown region of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
World Pasty Championships stalwart Matt Grant of The Great British Pasty and Pie Co from Ottawa, Canada, plans to return for the fifth year running after collecting the Pasty Ambassador prize in 2016. Other Canadians due to compete are Gerry Ramier from Ontario who won the Professional category in 2017 and newcomers The Grateful Plate Inc from Calgary.
The championships mark the finale of Cornish Pasty Week, held for the first time last year. Seven days of oggy-related festivity to celebrate this £300-million-a-year industry culminate in the final of the World’s Fastest Crimper competition at Eden on 2 March. edenproject.com
Open house wedding event
Boconnoc House and Stable Yard will be welcoming couples planning their big day and offering inspiration for their wedding at this historic estate. The beautiful reception rooms will be dressed by recommended suppliers, including The Garden Gate Flower Company, Boconnoc Church, Cornwall Council Registrars, Nick Walker Photography, Jenny Wren Wedding Planner and Kernow Forno. Explore the unique ceremony options at Boconnoc including the 18th century Bath House, the picturesque Dorothy Garden and the historical 15th century church.
Boconnoc can accommodate up to 40 guests in the main house and surrounding cottages, all of which will be open during the day.
St Piran’s Day
St Piran is Cornwall’s saint and the patron saint of tin miners and he is remembered every year with celebrations throughout Cornwall. Each town – including Bodmin, Redruth, Truro and Penzance – has its own way of remembering the saint. Each year a play is staged on the nearest Sunday to the Feast Day on the dunes at Perranporth where legend has it that St Piran was washed up in the 5th century AD.
Go to newquay.co.uk for more details.
Big is Beautiful
Artist Jo Downs is inspired by the coastal setting of Cornwall where she lives and works. Every year there’s a Big is Beautiful event at Jo Downs Handmade Glass with 20 per cent off large interiors pieces in her galleries and online.
For one weekend in March you can enjoy discounts on some spectacular pieces from huge bowls, mirrors and elegant framed works, to beautiful wall panels and her unique multi-piece wall installations.
One of the world’s most prominent fused glass artists, Jo’s innovative designs have earned her hundreds of private commissions for homes, hotels and corporate headquarters around the world.
There are galleries in St Ives, Padstow, Fowey, Tintagel and at her studio in Launceston.
Details at jodowns.com
In the autumn a series of TedWalks were launched by keen walker Ted Coryton, the owner of Pentillie Castle. The Coryton Family all enjoy walking and have a backpack full of knowledge and recommendations for the most stunning walks near the castle in St Mellion.
The circular walks have been mapped out by the Coryton family based on their knowledge of history and the countryside, starting at the Castle which stands on the border of Devon and Cornwall. A two-night TedWalks package includes meeting Ted for cream teas and cake on arrival, a two-course supper, a restful night’s sleep followed by a hearty breakfast before setting off.
Lunch is either a picnic or in a local pub and walkers return for a delicious three-course dinner in the castle’s beautiful dining room.
On departure day another hearty breakfast is followed by a fascinating stroll with Ted around the Pentillie Estate to learn all about its rich history and stunning gardens.
Visit pentillie.co.uk for details.
Scotland’s bestselling garden writer Kenneth Cox, who has had two of his 11 books named UK Gardening Book of the Year by the Garden Media Guild, is the guest speaker at two Cornwall Garden Society events this month.
As a third generation woodland gardener and Managing Director at the family firm – Glendoick Gardens in Scotland, which specialises in rhododendrons, azaleas and ericaceous plants – Kenneth is uniquely placed to cover his subject, the woodland garden.
Born into a family of renowned plantsmen and world-leading rhododendron experts, he is the grandson of plant-hunter, writer and nurseryman, Euan Cox and the son of Peter Cox VMH.
Kenneth has carved out a particular niche in the world of plant-hunting having led nine expeditions to South and South-East Tibet, and Arunachal Pradesh in India. He also designs and advises on the restoration of woodland gardens in the UK and further afield.
He will give two talks – on the evening of 12 March at The Alverton in Truro and at 2pm the following day at St Mellion International Resort, Saltash.
The Cornwall Garden Society is preparing for its spring show next month on 6 and 7 April when it moves from Boconnoc to a new venue, The Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge.
There will be dazzling displays of daffodils, magnolias, camellias and rhododendrons, floral art and photography exhibits and the chance to chat to horticultural experts and buy direct from specialist nurseries and garden centres – all under one roof for the first time.
There will be plenty to keep children entertained, an Artisan Centre showcasing high quality crafts and Cornish food and drink.
For further information on all these events, visit cornwallgardensociety.org.uk
Food takes centre stage in a series of dramatic events this year in the delightful setting of the Port Eliot in St Germans. After launching Amelies Events at the historic estate in December, owner Sam Sheffield Dunstan is delighted to be back this year with a programme that is an eclectic celebration of food, opera, immersive theatre and the best Cornish produce.
‘I adore the Port Eliot Festival so when I was asked to curate a series of events at the estate I jumped at the idea.’ says Sam. ‘The estate is steeped in history and is a fantastic backdrop for theatre, music, food and wine.’
The March event which kicks off the 2019 season is billed as A Naughty Night at the Opera.
A premiere of the audacious punk opera, Crocodile of Old Kang Pow, written by classical and jazz musician Darren Berry, will be perfectly paired with a five-course culinary tour of Italy in a feast for all senses.
‘All of the events are designed to combine culture and the arts with food and drink,’ says Sam. ‘Darren has written a crazy, saucy opera with a decadent Venetian setting. It will involve all the senses.
‘Things like lighting are important. At Christmas we were in The Orangery at Port Eliot and it was all light by fairylights and candlelights which reflected off the glassware. We will be using Bohemia tents in a Victorian style – a lot of what we do has grown organically.’
Sam, who started Amelies Restaurant in Porthleven, has provided catering for weddings, events, barbecues and picnics and brings all that experience to Port Eliot.
‘It’s all about being organised,’ she says modestly.
Forthcoming events include Moody’s Private Dining Club (May–June), a Summer Solstice Supper (20–23 June) and al fresco banquets For The Love of Food (August). For full details go to ameliesevents.co.uk
Growing up in small-town Ireland, Ardal O’Hanlon, was taught that there is nothing worse than showing off. Yet here he is, a professional show-off who continues to do stand-up comedy for money. Hence the title of his new tour, The Showing Off Must Go On.
Alongside his stand-up comedy career, Ardal has appeared in Death in Paradise, Father Ted, My Hero, Doctor Who, Skins and Live at the Apollo.
Just when he thought he’d made sense of the world, when he thought he knew everything he needed to know. When he finally found a hat that he liked and learned how to make cocktails and how to relax sagaciously in a big chair. Just when he was about to quit airing his dirty linen in public and stop showing off, the world shifted, dramatically, is adrift in the universe and needs saving.
Ardal’s show will cover a wide spectrum of issues troubling him from identity politics, the end of truth, the collapsing middle ground and £15 Gin and Tonics, revealing comedy as the best emergency response mechanism to extreme events there is.
He says he’s thrilled to be touring with material he has been testing in clubs and festivals over the past couple of years. ‘It’s great that the noise in my head is finally cohering into delightful comedy chunks.’
Ardal O’Hanlon is at the Regal Theatre, Redruth (merlincinemas.co.uk) on 14 March
It’s been 30 years since The Beautiful South released Song for Whoever and ten years since original band members – singers Dave Hemingway, Alison Wheeler and sax player Gaz Birtles – regrouped as The South.
Dave moved on at the end of 2016 and Gaz has stepped forward to take on vocal duties. Now a terrific nine-piece band, The South play all the songs made famous by The Beautiful South in an exciting live show.
After a successful year touring the theatres and festivals of the UK up and down the country, The South are keeping alive all those timeless songs – A Little Time (the number one single), Perfect 10, Rotterdam, Song For Whoever, Old Red Eyes Is Back, Good as Gold, Don’t Marry Her plus original material.
The South join an impressive line-up of musical acts at The Acorn this month including Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman (17 March), Nick Harper (22 March) and The Unravelling Wilburys (15 March).
The South play The Acorn, Penzance, on 24 March (01736 363545 or book online at theacornpenzance.com)
Falmouth Spring Show
This year’s Falmouth Spring Flower Show will show new daffodil varieties with Cornish connections including a “stately” pure white variety called Falmouth Bay.
Ron Scamp, the show’s president, has been organising and exhibiting at the show for 48 years and next month will feature in the Master Growers Display for the Royal Horticultural Society’s show in Cardiff.
Ron’s family-run Quality Bulbs has over 2,500 daffodil varieties, including more than 400 bred by him, and has notched up 35 RHS gold medals. New varieties this year include Caratal and Trembroath Belle – chosen and named by the late wife of Radio Cornwall presenter Denis Nightingale.
Two more newcomers, Sidmouth and Keith Owen, were named by the Sid Vale Association in Devon which has planted over a million bulbs in Sidmouth at the request of Mr Owen, a locally born Canadian based banker who bequeathed his £2.3 million fortune to be spent keeping his favourite holiday town beautiful.
Guest exhibitor at this 109th Falmouth flower show is Carlos van der Veek, whose Dutch bulb company Fluwel has one of the largest collections of daffodils in the world. On his annual buying visits to Cornwall’s daffodil breeders he selects a number of daffodil seedlings from Ron which he matures in his fields in Holland until he has enough bulbs for his catalogue. A recent addition is a pure white daffodil, Falmouth Bay.
‘When I visited the “Godfather of Daffodils” Ron Scamp I saw her for the first time,’ recalls Carlos. ‘She raised her head above all the other seedling daffodils facing the beautiful bay of Falmouth. Ron said to me: “Well she is looking at Falmouth’s Bay so let’s call her that name.” She is one of the most stately daffodils I know – she behaves like a queen in the garden.’
Ron says he is looking forward to welcoming his friend and business contact of many years to the show. ‘I’m delighted we shall be showing some of his various bulb varieties in our show,’ he says. ‘Cornish and Dutch daffodil growers have traded with each other for over a hundred years.’
Expect a dazzling display of camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias, floral art, children’s exhibits and photography at Cornwall’s oldest spring flower show, first held in 1910 at the same venue as today – Princess Pavilion, Gyllyngdune Gardens in Falmouth.
For details go to visitfalmouth.com
Boscastle Walking Week
30 March–5 April
As we head into spring, why not sign up for one of the events in this intimate walking festival which explores the coastline, woods and country lanes around the North Cornwall village of Boscastle?
Run by villagers who know the area better than anyone, there is a mix of walks for all ages, abilities and interests so everyone can join in and discover more about this lovely part of the county on foot and in good company.
Discover the area that enchanted writer Thomas Hardy when he spent a year as an architect working on the refurbishment of St Juliot Church. He met his first wife, Emma, here and much of the landscape features in his 1873 novel A Pair of Blue Eyes. Or you could discover beautiful natural waterfalls and climb to Cornwall’s highest coastal cliff top.
Walks average three hours and cost between £3 and £5.
Go to visitboscastle.com