For the past 40 years, Mount Aloysius College in Cresson has kicked off the most wonderful time of the year with its Madrigal Christmas Feaste - and this year will be no different.
A dinner, interactive performances and period costumes will help transport students, alumni, board members and other guests back to medieval times at this annual holiday event. The feast will be held this year at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4 in the Cosgrove Student Center on the campus.
What started as just a Christmas concert and a small dinner has grown into a "beautiful gift for the community," said Sister Eric Marie, an employee in the college's alumni relations department, who helped start the event after she came to the school in 1973.
The student and faculty volunteers for this year’s Madrigal Christmas Feaste at Mount Aloysius College in Cresson include: (standing, from left) Jasmine LaRue, Erika Sweigert, Heather Sullenberger and Melanie Turano; and (sitting) chef Douglas Morgan.
"I hoped it would get [people] into the Christmas spirit," she said. "I think it does that."
More than 100 volunteers, many being students and alumni, volunteer annually as part of the Madrigal Feaste and its performance. Attendees who step into the student center are invited to the feast by the "Lord of Ye Manor," "His Ladye" and other unforgettable characters. The student "wenches" serve the feast in period garb as other performers, musicians, singers and dancers provide entertainment throughout the evening.
"It's just a fun-filled night," Sister Eric Marie said. "I don't know of anyone who said they were bored."
Though guests should come to the feast ready to be entertained, it is also important that they come hungry.
Each guest is treated to an old-style spread of roast
beef au jus, horseradish sauce, roasted potatoes, candied carrots, steamed brussels sprouts, cheese bits, wassail, salad, scones, Yorkshire pudding, bread pudding and spiced tea.
Chef Douglas Morgan has been serving the feast for the past 13 years and said favorites like the freshly-made bread pudding with rum sauce are what keep people from as far as Lewisburg and Harrisburg coming back year after year.
"[The food] is a big part of the draw to get people to come in," he said.
For student volunteers like senior Melanie Turano, what's kept her volunteering for the event all four years of college is its ability to get anyone into the Christmas spirit.
"I think it's the best event this school has," Turano, 22, said.
Senior Jasmine LaRue said dressing up in period costume is "what makes it fun," but she also enjoys the company.
"I thought it was very interesting because you get to meet board members from the school, because they come and just have fun," LaRue, 22, said.
No matter what the reason for coming, the Madrigal Feaste is a one-of-a-kind event that will be no less enjoyable this year than it has been in years past, Sister Eric Marie said.
"It has been a wonderful event, an event unique to us," she said. "Few other people have tried it. God has blessed us in that way, that it's continued all these years."
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.