Yosemite National Park is home to the famous and elegant Bracebridge Dinner, an annual Christmas tradition in California. Many people book a year ahead to guarantee a spot in a mock-manor house where wassail, medieval music, fine food, squires and knights combine to make this a dinner that cannot be forgotten.
Organization: Yosemite National Park
Dates: 12/13/2012 - 12/25/2012 update info
Time: 6:00:00 PM - 9:00:00 PM
Event Cost: TBA
Venue: The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park,CA
Contact: Kenny Karst
Phone: (209) 372-1445
Celebrated annually since 1927, the Bracebridge Dinner transforms The Ahwahnee into a 17th century English manor for a feast of food, song and mirth. The inspiration for this yuletide ceremony was Washington Irving's Sketch Book that described Squire Bracebridge and English Christmas traditions of that period.
The Bracebridge Dinner is an elegant and artistic four-hour pageant of classic carols, Renaissance rituals and entertainment of the Middle Ages. More than 100 players create the roles of the Squire and his family, their servants, the Lord of Misrule, minstrels and other performers. The Ahwahnee Dining Room serves as the Great Hall and stage for the festivities and is decked with magnificent wreaths, an elaborate squire's table, large banners and traditional Yuletide decorations. The centerpiece of this revered event is a seven-course banquet of rich and wondrous dishes prepared by The Ahwahnee's world-class culinary staff. Though each year the menu varies, a sample from years past can be viewed here.
But don't take our word for it. Terry Gardner from the Huffington Post has this to say. Or take in this perspective from guests of Audrey and Frank Peterman, who played the part of the visiting squire in 2010.
Learn more about the Bracebridge cast members and the exciting tradition and history of the Bracebridge event.
2012 Bracebridge Dinner Dates
The Bracebridge Dinner tradition continues with the following dates in 2012.
Dec. 13 (Thu.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 14 (Fri.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 15 (Sat.) Concert
Dec. 16 (Sun.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 17 (Mon.) Concert
Dec. 18 (Tue.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 19 (Wed.) Concert
Dec. 20 (Thu.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 21 (Fri.) Concert
Dec. 22 (Sat.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 23 (Sun.) Concert
Dec. 24 (Mon.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dec. 25 (Tue.) Bracebridge Dinner
Dinner seating begins at 6pm, and the performance starts at 6:30pm.
For reservations, further information, and any possible restrictions, call 801-559-5000 or visit YosemitePark.com.
- Excellent menu, medieval costumes and music, and toast to all and sundry with a glass of wassail
- A Yosemite Tradition
- Typically takes place mid December to late December
Overview: Despite its separation from England, the United States has maintained many traditions that herald in the Christmas season in a truly medieval fashion. The traditional elegance of the Bracebridge Dinner (Yosemite National Park) is one that has come to epitomize true sophistication in the heart of California. Many people take pleasure in its excellent menu, medieval costumes and music, and toast to all and sundry with a glass of wassail.
When: A mid December tradition
Where: Ahwahnee Hotel
Fees: A fixed cost is set per year
Details: Great horns hail visitors as the make their entrance into the hall, welcoming them with delicious food and warming music. Visitors enter a manor like building that boasts 50 foot ceilings (beamed) and massive windows which present an incredible view of snow covered mountain peaks.
The evening begins with a mystical atmosphere of olde English pageantry, a more than three hour feast that is hailed in with a speech by the designated dinner squire. The hall fills with medieval costumed singers, courtiers and jugglers, who retell a tale of the lord and his house of many servants and family members, whilst guests are waited on 'hand and foot' by diligent staff.
The park's dinner was first introduced about 80 years ago. It is held in a large dining room at the Ahwahnee Hotel. Even then, as it is today, tables were adorned with candlelight and the warm spirit of Christmas was a copy of that of the novel 'Squire Bracebridge', written by Washington Irving. Food was piled high on silver platters and fine wines and wassail filled glasses and metal cups.
Interestingly enough, the hotel was built based on the descriptions given in Irving's book. In fact, after its completion (1927), it was dubbed 'Bracebridge Hall' by its owners, pageant directors. However, its menu has not altered much since then, including such delights as vegetable strudel, salads, coulis, soup, truffles, lobster, peacock pie, chutney, pilaf, roast beef, head of boar, varied vegetables, plum pudding, mulled wine, brandy and mignardises.