Grass Valley will be hosting the ninth annual St. Piran’s Day Celebration this weekend. Festivities will kick off Friday at 6:30 p.m. with a pub night sing-along at Gold Rush Burgers, near City Hall. That will be followed by the Pasty Olympics at 10 a.m. Saturday, after an introduction by Grass Valley’s Town Crier. The event will take place at the corner of Main and Auburn streets, which some locals contend is the “most Cornish spot in America.”
Piran is said to be the patron saint of tin miners in Cornwall, England. The Cornish people are expert hard-rock miners, which led some of them to settle here in the Grass Valley area.
Pasties are a Cornish pastry typically stuffed with meat and vegetables. They were brought to Grass Valley by Cornish miners during the Gold Rush era and are still available at local restaurants.
“Cornish miners are part of our history,” Grass Valley Mayor Dan Miller said. “I think we owe it to their memory to honor their contribution as much as possible.”
Miller will compete with Nevada City’s mayor, Sally Harris, in a pasty toss on Saturday morning.
“You’re standing back about 40 feet, and you try to land the pasties as close to the target as possible,” Miller said. “We lost the trophy last year, and we’re trying to get it back.”
Grass Valley is one of the few cities in the United States to celebrate the holiday. The English city of Bodmin was designated as Grass Valley’s sister city in 1997. Bodmin has a population of more than 12,000 residents and is in Cornwall.
To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, call 530-477-4230 or send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.