- 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. This year the dinners take place December 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 18th, 20th, and 22nd, 2017.
Where: Majestic Yosemite 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.
Find more information on the Bracebridge Dinners website.