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The Principal Dance, Helston
The Principal Dance looks uncannily like a procession at a wedding

It was when the B&B owner laughed down the phone at me that I felt my carefully crafted plans fall apart like a chocolate teapot.

The Helston Faddy

The Guildhall in Helston
The Guildhall in Helston, decked out in all its finery

It's now consigned to the Top of the Pops 2 bin, but back in 1978 Terry Wogan reached number 28 in the UK charts with his interpretation of 'The Floral Dance.' There have been other versions, but Terry's is the one that sticks in my mind because I was only eight at the time and had yet to develop anything resembling critical skills. 'The Floral Dance' is one of those instantly grating tunes that welds its way into your synapses simply because it's not welcome there, and it's this tune that defines the very fabric of the Helston Furry Dance.

The Principal Dance, Helston
The Principal Dance blows through town

The Spingo Dance

A pint of Spingo
A pint of Spingo

The Blue Anchor is the only pub in Cornwall that sells Spingo ale, a local beer that's brewed right there on the high street, bang next door to – wait for it – the Keith Richards Gents Hairdressers. The pub's sign proudly announces that the Blue Anchor is the site of the oldest functioning brewery in Cornwall, which might have had something to do with the crowds of people pouring through the front door, the haunted look of jaunty choruses in their eyes. Luckily the landlord had opened up the doors to his above-ground cellar to churn out pints of beer as quickly as possible, so none of us had to wait too long.

The Principal Dance, Helston
The Principal Dance
Penhellis, Helston
The pretty grounds of Penhellis, through which the Principal Dance winds its way
The Principal Dance, Helston
The Principal Dance comes with its own brass section
A couple peering from a window in Helston
Onlookers at the dance