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St Ives May Day 2024

Local band Bagas Porthia play at the St Ives seafront for May Day. Raymond Perkins holds the St Ives Old Cornwall Society banner behind the band. Image courtesy of Bagas Porthia and Val Thomas, secretary of the St Ives OCS

In Brief

Name: St Ives May Day 2024
Date: Monday 6 May 2024
Time: It all begins at 12midday from The St Ives Guildhall
Type: May Day celebration with maypole dancing
Suitable for: Anyone! Hurrah!
Location: The Guildhall St Ives, Street-an-Pol, St Ives (and across the town from there!)
Price: Free

ST IVES MAY DAY 2024 TAKES PLACE IN THE NORTH CORNISH TOWN ON MONDAY 6 MAY 2024. STARTING FROM 12 MIDDAY AT THE ST IVES GUILDHALL. EXPECT A PARADE, MAYPOLE DANCING AND A CELEBRATORY ATMOSPHERE ALL DAY…

May Day ceremonies take place across the Duchy on Monday 6 May 2024. But one of the most vibrant is the St Ives May Day 2024 in the beautiful town of St Ives. Starting at 12 midday from the Guildhall in Street-an-Pol, expect a day of fun, tradition and much rejoicing.

St Ives‘ May Day celebrations actually date back a long way. A really, really long way. Some sources put it back to the 16th century, in fact, but, either way, it’s certainly an ancient tradition. The May Day tradition itself dates back all the way to Roman times.

The times and details have not yet been confirmed for 6 May 2024. But the 2023 festivities included the St Ives Community Choir starting proceedings with a medley of Cornish-inspired songs and then there was the choosing of the May King and Queen. This ancient ceremony was overseen by Cornwall Council leader Cllr Linda Taylor, who is also a member of St Ives Rotary Club. The club organised the event.

School children from Nancledra School in St Ives mark the St Ives May Day 2024 with maypole dancing. A big crowd watches the dancers at the seafront
Children from Nancledra School do maypole dancing for St Ives May Day

St Ives Museum is the custodian of the two ‘May horns’ which are blown by two local boys on the steps of the Guildhall. This happened in 2023 and a repeat is expected in 2024. A local resident who always supports the event says: “This is not always a tuneful event but is reminiscent of times past when it was customary for ‘May horns’ to be sounded by all the local children.”

Two teams of maypole dancers from the Kidz R Us youth theatre company and Nancledra School performed in three different locations in the town at the 2023 event, including at the Guildhall. There will certainly be a repeat of maypole dancing in 2024 ahead of the traditional procession through the town which was led by St Ives band Bagas Porthia in 2023. Any local or visitor to the town is, of course, welcome to join in the festivities.

The St Ives Old Cornwall Society were represented by their banner bearer Raymond Perkins and his partner Peny Melmoth in 2023. Many members of the society will be part of the celebrations across town on 6 May 2024. So get on down to St Ives on that most special of days for a slice of Cornish tradition and much fun besides. Watch this space for the full details when they are announced.