In 1993, 100 townspeople gathered to celebrate Edgar Hellum‘s investiture as a Cornish Bard. They staged an afternoon ceremony followed by a pasty dinner. This modest affair turned out to be the beginning of Mineral Point’s annual Cornish Fest.
Now celebrating its 21st year, Cornish Fest takes place this weekend (September 27-29) and is a 3-day celebration. The schedule includes daily tours of Pendarvis, Orchard Lawn, the Library and Archives, the Railroad Depot, and the Odd Fellows Museum. Each of these tours is worth taking if you haven’t already done so.
The Mineral Point Collection – also known as The Cornish Corner – will be a hub of activity. Year-round this is the place to go in town to find Cornish books and artifacts. Proprietor Catherine Trehawkes Whitford, is a font of Cornish information and a champion of Cornish Fest. Her shop will host lace-making and Cornish card-making demonstrations. Her friendly dog Tekie will be on-hand to greet you. Tekie’s full name is Trehawkes Prince Tekter. (“Tekter” is Cornish for beautiful.)
Another hub of activity will be Pendarvis, the state historic site that depicts the life of the Cornish miners. They open the doors to their authentic pub, “The Kiddleywink” on Friday night (7-10). A special exhibit currently on display at Pendarvis is “Beer, Breweries, and Bars of Wisconsin.” Saturday Pendarvis will host the Crowdy Crawn (12-4), described as “a mixed bag of learning, lore, and laughter.” The education center at Pendarvis has scheduled discussions regarding the Welsh in SW Wisconsin (1-2:30 Saturday), a photo- scanning workshop (Sat 3:30-4:30), a discussion of the Cornish language (12-1 Sunday) and an introductory course on the Cornish language (2-5 Sunday). By the end of this 3-hour course you’ll be able to order a drink in Cornish and sing some Cornish songs. (Unfortunately Cornish Fest will be over at that point, so you’ll have to come back next year to show off these skills.)
* Jammin’ on the Porch at Orchard Lawn featuring Cupola Friday night (5:30-7)
* Hannah Adams Spoken Word Poetry at Shake Rag Alley (7-8 pm Friday)
* The MP Farmers Market at Water Tower Park (8:30-11 Saturday)
* Pancake Breakfast at the Masonic Temple (7-10:30am Saturday)
* Taste of Mineral Point at Water Tower Park (11-2 Saturday)
* Bus tours of the city (10-11:30 Saturday) and countryside (2-4 Saturday)
* Architectural Walking Tour with Roland Sardeson (3-4 Saturday)
* Textile demonstrations at de la Pear (11-5 Saturday)
* Pasty picnic supper at the Walker House (4:30-7pm Saturday)
* Atlantic Wave Concert at the Opera House (7:30-9 Saturday)
* An 1850’s church service at Trinity Episcopal Church (9:30-10:30 Sunday)
At Mineral Point’s Cornish Fest you are welcome to take part in as little or as much as you like. Most events are free!
You don’t have to be Cornish to have fun at Cornish Fest.
– Contributed by the Hays