Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival
One of the highlights of the Music & Arts Ministry of Asylum Hill Congregational Church is the annual Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival—a medieval celebration of Epiphany through music, dancing, pageantry and live animals. This culminating event of the holiday season continues to attract new people to this active and friendly church. After each of the five performances, all are invited to Drew Hall after the performance for a gala reception where the ferocious boar’s head, the mince pie and many of the festival properties are on display. Demand is heavy for the 4,000 available reserved seating tickets, and patrons are encouraged to purchase them as soon as they go on sale (see below).
2018 Festival Dates and Ticket Sales
- Friday, January 5 at 7:30pm
- Saturday, January 6 at 3:00 and 6:30pm
- Sunday, January 7 at 1:30 and 5:00pm
Tickets go on sale to the public on November 6. All seats are reserved. Ticket prices are $25, $22 and $18. Click here to download and view the seating chart (coming soon). A small number of prime seats are reserved for Boar’s Head donors – see the details in the Donations section below.
Please note: No flash photography or recording devices of any kind are permitted at the performance; to ensure the safety of the animals and guests, children under 4 are NOT permitted at the festival; in the event of inclement weather, the show will go on unless travel bans are in effect; ticket sales are final. Late-comers may face extended seating delays due to the processions that occupy the aisles.
Synopsis of AHCC's Festival
The church is decorated for a great medieval pageant. Upon entering, our guests are greeted by a brass ensemble, a mime, jugglers, a puppeteer and jesters, recalling the Christmas entertainment provided by the Lord Mayor of the city of London. These festivities originated in the late 15th century and continue to this day.
Soon the festival begins as bagpipers catch our attention and we watch a traditional highland dance. A drummer announces the high king and queen who conduct a ceremony inducting into knighthood the young squire who has killed the evil boar. The portrayal of a royal feast celebrating this great event begins with a procession of lords and ladies to the majestic Earle of Oxford’s March, written by William Byrd in the 16th century for just such an occasion. A fanfare and singing herald announce the arrival of the boar’s head, symbolic of Christ’s triumph over evil; accompanied by the royal hunter and his attendants, full of pride. A great procession of cooks and staff follows, depicting the preparation of the royal feast.
Then follow King Wenceslas and his page reminding us to help those in need. The festival builds in intensity to a rousing rendition of Deck the Hall, and woodsmen enter with the Yule log, which represents the rekindling of love. The sweeping entrance of our dancers, accompanied by a grand Gloria, signals a spiritual change, as the manor hall becomes a great cathedral for the worship of the newborn King.
We prepare ourselves for Epiphany as a small child brings a lighted candle into the darkened church, symbolizing the coming of the light of Christ. We witness the arrival of Mary and Joseph as we listen to the simple melodies of O Little Town of Bethlehem and Once in Royal David’s City. The shepherds, instructed by the angel, find the holy family, as the three kings arrive in majesty and splendor, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. When all have assembled, they kneel in adoration—lords and servants, shepherds and kings—before the Lord of Lords! As the church is darkened and the Epiphany star shines brightly, the Yule sprite returns, and together the child and a simple monk of the church lift up and carry forth Christ’s light to all people.
Click to download and view the 2017 program.
Click for the Hartford's Courant's photo highlights of the 2015 Boar's Head Festival.
The Festival is funded completely through ticket sales and donations. In an effort to keep ticket prices affordable, we ask that those who are able consider making a donation. We express our gratitude for your generosity by offering many exciting benefits to our donors.
Please click here to see a list of donor categories and to download and print the donation form.
We also offer an opportunity for you to help fund the large number of free admissions we offer to various organizations who provide services to the residents of the Asylum Hill neighborhood.
Participate in the Festival
Being a part of the AHCC Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival has been a joyous occasion for church members for many years. Singles, couples, families, kids … participating in the Boar's Head is for everyone, whether in a costumed role or a member of the backstage team. For those who have been part of the Boar’s Head family for years, it has become a holiday tradition. It’s no secret that as much fun as the Festival is for the audience, it’s the cast and crew who are having even more fun. So join the Christian fellowship that awaits you here … you might even see a camel up close! Although we do have many returning participants, there is room for new participants every year.
Click here to see the full range of volunteer opportunities, download and print the form and let us know what interests you.
Click here to see photos of behind-the-scenes fun.
Boar’s Head Leadership
If you have any questions or would simply like to contact any of us for any reason, just click any of the names below to send a message:
Jack Pott – Director/Producer
Jim Grigsby and Linda Fazio – Festival Co-chairs
Marcie Sener – Production Design
Mike Comeau – Production Staging
Sarah DeFilippis – Marketing and Communications
Ellen Deutsch – Ticket Sales
Jenn Geisler and Carol Pinkston - Reception
Nancy Grandin and Luz Antonio-LaMarco – Make-up
Africka Hinds – Lighting and Technology
Cynthia Jaworski, Janet Kennedy and Deb Smith – Stage Properties
Parker and Susan Simonds – Cast Food
Doug Townsend – Cast Management
Kathy Valade – Casting and Costume Management
John and Lynn Wadhams – The Lord Mayor of London’s Pre-show
Dayl Walker – Ushers and House Management