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St. Piran’s Day and Pasty Tossing in Grass Valley Saturday Morning

Tomorrow morning the Town Criers bell will ring, the choir will sing, short speeches will be made and of course pasties will fly as the annual St. Piran’s Day celebration returns to Grass Valley. The day celebrating the Cornish heritage of Grass Valley. Local Historian and Cornish Bard Gage McKinney says activities begin at 9:30 in the city hal parking lot at South Auburn Street and East Main St.


St. Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and the Cornish tin miners who immigrated to Grass Valley to spread their expertise in hard rock mining to help extract gold from local mines including the Empire and Idaho-Maryland Mines. Gage says the day is fun for all beginning with a proclamation, the raising of the flags, and the Grass Valley Men’s Choir singing the United States and Cornish National Anthems.


The day is also a bit of a rivalry between Grass Valley and Nevad City which also had a substantial Cornish population in the late 1800s and early 1900’s.
Grass Valley Mayor Jan Arbuckle has participated in several St. Piran’s Day celebrations and put out the challenge to other local officials.


Along with the mayor’s challenge, all locals and visitors are invited to toss pasties. A pasty lunch event follows the outdoor celebration.


Thomas is the most recent Cornish immigrant to move to Grass Valley.
Special guests for both events include Christpoher Cambisis from the British Consulate in San Francisco and Dr. Joanie Willet a professor from the University of Exeter at Cornwall.

With music fading in at the end of the On the Town interview, McKinney shares a possible strategy for successful pasty tossing. The pasty is shaped like a half circle with pointy ends.


St. Piran’s Day is in the city hall parking lot from 9:30-11:00. The pasty lunch is at noon.
For lunch reservations contact the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.

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