Jan Dances at 'Flora Day'

Flora Day

Wednesday 10th May 2017

 
 

Jan Dances at 'Flora Day'

By Phil Westren

The Cornish Pirates popular Team Manager, Chris ‘Jan’ Rendall, was delighted to suitably dress up on Saturday and dance on the streets of Helston.

Accompanied by his daughter Samantha, Jan was taking part in the town’s annual ‘Flora Day’ event, participating in the midday dance

Helston townsfolk have celebrated and enjoyed the wonderful tradition that is Flora Day for hundreds of years. It is an ancient Spring festival that celebrates the end of winter and marks the arrival of the new vitality and fertility, with the trees and flowers bursting into life, and the dancing all-important.

When the big bass drum struck the first beat for the opening dance at seven in the morning, on a day that is considered better than Christmas houses and shops in the town were once again decorated with greenery and floral arrangements to express the spirit of renewal.

Jan and Samantha thoroughly enjoyed taking part, with Jan commenting:
“Despite the weather it was a fantastic occasion for us, an experience that meant we had a constant smile on our faces all day. Hopefully, if selected, I can’t wait to do it again next year!”

There are five principle parts to Flora Day, which were as follows:-
7am: The Morning Dance which left from the Guildhall. Couples - the men in shirts and ties and the ladies in spring dresses – began the dances with the longest route around town. These same dancers returned and completed the day for the 5pm dance.

8.30am: The ‘Hal an Tow’, is the loud, noisy and colourful theatrical part of the day. Performers including green-men, dragons, knights and saints - as well as a host of other extravagant characters, took to the streets of the town centre. They were easily noticeable by the blowing of whistles and they performed their theatrical display at key points around the town centre.

9.40am: The Children's Dance featured hundreds of pupils from the four town schools, Parc Eglos, St Michael’s, Nansloe and Helston Community College. The huge procession left the town centre to complete a circuit of the town.

Noon: The Midday Dance featured hundreds of couples. The men were dressed in top hats and tail while the women wore fabulous gowns. They left from the Guildhall at the stroke of midday, and on their return made their way back up Coinagehall Street to where they had started. The route had seen them enter Lismore Gardens and pass Penhellis Gardens via Tanyard Lane into Leslie House Gardens.

5pm: This Evening Dance to complete the day's festivities, as previously mentioned featured those who took part in the 7am dance.
Alongside the formal dances, there were also stalls in Coinagehall Street and a fair down in the car park opposite the Coronation Park boating lake. Oh, and members of the Helston Town Band were in attendance – to play the famous Flora Day tune as only they can.

Footnote:

Flora Day is usually held on the 8th May, unless that date falls on a Sunday or Monday, in which case the previous Saturday is taken (as was the case this year).


 

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