Celebrate our Cornish culture on St. Piran’s Day | TheUnion.com

Celebrate our Cornish culture on St. Piran’s Day

For the Irish, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. For the Cornish, the comparable holiday is St. Piran’s Day. And because the Cornish miners made such a contribution to Grass Valley’s gold mining history, their patron – a Fifth Century Christian missionary who, legend has it, taught the people of Cornwall to refine tin – will be honored Saturday.

The day includes playful events, eating, and learning about a great – some say the greatest – 20th Century Cornishman, A. L. Rowse (1903-1997), who visited Grass Valley and wrote of the town in his book “The Cousin Jacks: The Cornish in America.”

Professor Philip Payton, visiting from the United Kingdom, is the foremost authority on the Cornish people and their culture. He will give the keynote luncheon talk and sign his just-published biography of Rowse. Also visiting are guests from Bodmin, Cornwall, Grass Valley’s sister city.

The popular Grass Valley Male Voice Choir, under the direction of Nevada County’s Cornish bard Eleanor Kenitzer, will sing all things Cornish.

While all efforts to get the Cornish census of Grass Valley failed, Kenitzer said “It’s a lot. You see Cornish names all over.” But little does it matter on St. Piran’s Day, when everyone is invited to be Cornish.


WHAT: St. Piran’s Day

WHEN: Saturday, 9 a.m-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Grass Valley, including the United Methodist Church of Grass Valley, 236 S. Church St., where the luncheon and tea take place.

ADMISSION: $10 for the luncheon and $10 for the tea

INFORMATION: Grass Valley Downtown Association, 125 Neal St, Grass Valley, 272-8315; The Book Seller, 107 Mill St., 272-2131, for tickets and information.

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