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Bracebridge dinner


Bracebridge dinner

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Bracebridge dinner is an annual Christmas event held at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel. Started in 1927, the first year of operation for the Ahwahnee, the dinner is inspired by Squire Bracebridge's Yule celebration in a story from The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving. The event is a six course formal dinner presented as a feast held by a Victorian era lord. Music and acting are involved in the introduction of each course.
A curtain showing the Lady and Squire
A curtain showing the Lady and Squire

Dr. Donald Tresidder, then president of Yosemite Park & Curry Co., had hired Garnet Holme to create the event for the grand dining room at the new hotel. Holme and his wife played the Squire and his lady for the first two years, until Holme's death in 1929. Tresidder then asked Ansel Adams, who had played a supporting role previously, to take on the direction of the show. Adams reworked the script considerably, taking the role of Squire, while his wife played the Housekeeper, a much more significant role than Lady Bracebridge.

The dinner was not held during World War II, as the Ahwahnee was functioning as a military hospital. The 1945 dinner introduced a chorus and a more significant musical aspect. Ansel Adams retired from the event in 1973, passing it on to Eugene Fulton. Much of the cast returns year after year, ensuring a continuity of traditions. As of 2004, the longest running member of the cast is Andrea Fulton, daughter of Eugene. Andrea began performing in 1950 at the age of five, and now has the role of Housekeeper.

For much of its history tickets to the show were difficult to obtain. Prior to 1956 it was a single show, but the number of performances has gradually increased to a total of eight in 2002 (and currently) so that it no longer sells out in a single day or week.

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Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

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