What’s On in Looe?

When you check what’s on in Looe, Looe’s annual calendar of events is generally filled with seasonal activities. June is the top festival month for hosting regattas and events around Looe’s fishing heritage, while the school holidays feature the Looe Carnival.
If you come to Looe during traditional fairs and festivals, you get a real sense of the friendliness of local people. To share some of the fun and laughter, and the historic traditions associated with our Cornish fishing town, this blog highlights some regular events from previous years. Due to Covid, it makes sense to check any provisional dates for 2021 and beyond.
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    1. Looe Lugger Regatta
    If you’re in Looe during the Lugger Regatta, you’ll sense the nostalgia as historic Cornish fishing vessels gather in Looe Bay. The Lugger Regatta takes place every two years, normally in June. It is a magnificent spectacle to see traditional sailing vessels moored up along the quayside in Looe Harbour and to watch them unfurl their sails as they compete in six races over two days. The centuries’ old solid wooden boats gather from England and France. The crews generally live on board and in the evening, you can enjoy the quayside entertainment of Cornish sea shanties and the French playing accordions. (deferred to 2022)
    Cornish Lugger Our Daddy in Looe at Lugger Regatta
    2. Looe Raft Race and Festival of the Sea

    The Raft Race is an annual event, normally held in June as part of Looe’s Festival of the Sea. Clad in fancy dress, participants launch their home-made rafts from East Looe Beach to round the Banjo Pier and paddle to Looe Bridge and back. Funds are raised for the RNLI and children now throw jelly not balloons at the rafts. Jelly was introduced by Looe Marine Conservation Group as a more environmentally friendly alternative to displace the previous tradition of throwing water balloons.

    Either side of the Raft Race, the Festival of the Sea is an educational day of fun-filled family activities and entertainment. The activities highlight Looe’s respect for the sea and its marine life and the livelihood it provides to Looe’s fishing community. In 2021, the Raft Race has been delayed to October.

    3. Looe Carnival
    The people of Looe love a bit of fancy dress! The summer carnival showcases the talents of community groups, businesses, mum’s, dad’s and children in a typical community led seaside carnival parade. This annual event is organised by Looe Lions Club at the beginning of the school holidays. Judging takes place at Hannafore early in the evening before the pomp and ceremony of the street parade snakes its way from West to East Looe, accompanied by a brass band or two.
    Looe Marine Conservation volunteers in Looe Carnival
    4. Walk to Looe Island
    Very occasionally, on the lowest tides of the year, it is possible to walk to Looe Island, the marine nature reserve lying just off West Looe. Not considered the safest of pursuits, nor condoned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust who own the island, you will nevertheless see hundreds wading across to the island’s beach before hotfooting it back to beat the incoming tide. It’s viewed by locals almost as a ‘passage of rights’ requiring a unique combination of an extremely low tide and the calmest of weather.
    5. Looe Island Swim
    More recently, the trend for wild swimming has generated a new annual event in Looe. Registered swimmers are ferried out to Looe Island on glass bottomed boats and swim just over a mile back to East Looe Beach. It’s a ticket only event, organised by the Rotary Club of Looe to raise money for the Chestnut Appeal. This year’s event takes place on 5 September and is sold out.
    6. Looe Live

    Looe has gained fame for its music festival, now called Looe Live. Usually during the third week of September, the whole of Looe town is taken over by a three-day festival of music and the arts. You will find this unique gathering a friendly affair – though be warned – it does take over the whole town. Tickets are sold online and accommodation needs to be booked well in advance. Main stage acts introduced by the BBC are on the beach and seafront, with pop up performances at more than 100 venues. This community led festival also features a variety of workshops. 17-19 September are provisional dates for 2021.

    7. Looe's Santa Fun Run
    In the run up to Christmas in Looe, there are several seasonal events including a Santa Fun Run in fancy dress and the arrival of Father Christmas, sometimes by boat, sometimes on the Looe Valley Line train. Also, there is usually a Christmas craft market and a wicker lantern and torchlight procession.
    8. Looe's New Year Fireworks
    Looe’s reputation for fancy dress infects the whole town on New Year’s Eve. Be prepared to feel out of place or very much a bystander if you wander the streets of Looe without dressing up. New Year’s Eve is celebrated with two firework displays; one generally at 6pm aimed at families and the other at midnight. The following day, a New Year’s Swim is held on East Looe Beach.
    New Year Fireworks in Looe
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    Festivals and heritage near Polraen Country House

    What’s On in Looe?

    When you check what’s on in Looe, Looe’s annual calendar of events is generally filled with seasonal activities. June is the top festival month for …

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