Sneak peek at this year’s Bracebridge Dinner menus at Yosemite

Next year Yosemite celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary – 150 years ago Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove became the first public parkland the federal government had ever set aside, with President Lincoln declaring, “upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort and recreation.”

While popular in the summer for outdoor enthusiasts, Yosemite is magical in the colder months. “Being in Yosemite in the wintertime, at Christmas, is a total fantasy experience,” as one enthusiast put it.

And “the Bracebridge dinner is something that is evocative of everything we dream of at Christ-time.” “It’s a traditional old Christmas feast, with all the wonderful smells of the holidays.”

Celebrated annually since 1927, the Bracebridge Dinner transforms Yosemite’s historic Ahwahnee Hotel into a 17th century English manor for a feast of food, song and mirth. Ansel Adams — known for his famous landscape photography of Yosemite — had a hand in organizing the original dinner when it was launched, along with the Ahwahnee’s first president to provide “special Christmas entertainment.”

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.

Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s menu. You can also read the vegetarian, gluten-free and nut-free menus. Read the wine list, which includes Easton Barbera from Amador County.

—Yosemite National Park

A wonderfully informative video is here:

(Photo: Kenny Karst of DNC Parks & Resorts)

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