Sunday, January 4, 2004

Minstrels mingle with sprites at cathedral

Downtown: Boar's Head & Yule Log Festival

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

From the costumes and pageantry at the Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival presented by Christ Church Cathedral downtown this weekend, it's hard to believe 2004 is just a few days old.

Steven Haney, 5, a yule sprite, sits on the yule log before the Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival dress rehearsal.
(Meggan Booker photo)
Beefeaters in original English costumes mingled with pages, yule sprites and holly bearers at the 64th annual event - perhaps the oldest continuing festival of the Christmas season, first presented in England, at Queen's College, Oxford, in 1340.

Each year, members of Christ Church Cathedral don costumes and stage the free festival to a capacity audience at the church. Other church members make up the choir and orchestra.

For new church member Suzanne Beckner, participating in the festival brought her "incredible warmth and friendship. It's amazing how welcome I've felt," said the downtown resident, waiting to make her debut as a wait person. Her boyfriend, Don Lenz, was in the Plum Pudding Company.

The youngest members to take part in the festival, as little yule sprites, are around 5 years old. Maurice Mandell celebrated his 34th year as the Chief Minstrel.

If you go

What: 64th Annual Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival.

When: 2:30 and 5 p.m. today

Where: Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. Fourth St., downtown

Tickets: Free tickets were distributed earlier this month. If you don't have a ticket, arrive early and see an usher.

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