Every year Grass Valley captures some of the strangeness with its annual St. Piran’s Day pasty tossing contest. The rain or shine event, which celebrates the Cornish immigrants who settled around the gold mines, is fun for adults, children and especially dogs.
The festivities begin in the City Hall parking lot at Main and Auburn streets on Saturday, March 10 at 9:30 am. The slogan – “Everyone’s Cornish today!”
Saint Patrick gets all the hype and publicity, but in Grass Valley, we celebrate Saint Piran. Saint Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall, which sent miners to Grass Valley in the nineteenth century.
Our Cornish crier will start the festivities as we raise the Cornish Flag. The Grass Valley Cornish Choir will sing some time-honored Cornish tunes from the mining days of yesteryear. The flag-raising and pasty toss take place in the city hall parking lot at Main and South Auburn streets, known as the most Cornish spot in America.
We will also have our Pasty Olympics! Come out and challenge your friends, neighbors and civil servants to a friendly game. Dogs are welcome and encouraged. Bring your “four-legged friends” to enjoy the kibble filled pasties.
Mayors Howard Levine of Grass Valley and Duane Stawser of Nevada City will vie in the first heat with hopes of capturing the Mayor’s Trophy. Over the years, Grass Valley’s mayor holds a slight edge in the competition. Other contestants will follow, including the police chiefs of the two towns, representatives of service clubs, Cornish descendants and curious on-lookers of all ages.
We will also have Cornish Pasty Tasting. Pasties will be judged by esteemed judges to be announced. Prizes sponsored by Tess” Kitchen Store. Please bring your pre-made pasties to the judges booth at City Hall parking lot by 9:15 a.m. to have a chance to win the title of “Best Traditional” Pasty or “Most Original”.
Every contestant gets a St. Piran’s Day pin, and the California Cornish Cousins will present the St. Piran’s Award.
The event is FREE!!! So come to downtown Grass Valley for the day.
Content and photo submitted by Marni Marshall