The Fireside Theater, Ft. Atkinson, WI

The lovely Robin and I had an absolutely marvelous time at The Fireside Theater in Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin, a few evenings ago with about forty Salvationist friends from the central U.S.A.
The Fireside is a dinner theater owned by the Klopcic family from its inception fifty-one years ago. It is the only Actor’s Equity dinner theatre in Wisconsin and a popular destination for couples, families, and tour groups from all over the place, not just southern Wisconsin. The buffet meal was substantial, endless, and delicious, and the service was exceptional.
After the meal our group was ushered into the theater where we enjoyed a two-act musical, "The Sensational 70s," that was impossible NOT to sing along with. The compact eight-piece band, eight vocalists, and master of ceremonies kept us entertained throughout--though I carried a lot of the harmonies from my seat in the third row back. 

"The Sensational 70s" continues through February 22, the first of seven shows planned for 2015.  The Fireside is located at 1131 Janesville Avenue in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin.

Camp Wonderland, Wisconsin

The lovely Robin and I enjoyed a few days at The Salvation Army's Camp Wonderland in Camp Lake, Wisconsin, this past week.

We were there to share with about forty men and women of God who comprise the SA's Central Territory TEC (Territorial Executive Council) in a series of wonderfully sensitive sessions. We made so many new friends, whose paths we hope to cross again soon...and often!

It was a great time with amazing people in first rate facilities in a beautiful setting.

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Icefest and Bookfest 2015

I had a great time Saturday at Hamilton, Ohio's biennial IceFest and Ryan Tavern's BookFest. IceFest's theme this year was "Hamilton Goes Hollywood," and the sculptures displayed throughout the downtown area were fun, beautiful, and impressive.
Alas, I saw only a few of the sculptures, as I was occupied by BookFest, the biennial event, BookFest, at Ryan's Tavern. The event allows the chance to meet numerous authors and browse their work, talk books and writing, etc. I was honored and excited to be a part of it. I got to visit with so many friends and even sold some books!
I also enjoyed speaking at the Mad Anthony Writers seminars presented at the Miami University Hamilton-Downtown meeting room that morning (while the lovely Robin babysat my book table next door).

It was a great day, very productive and enjoyable. Thanks to Hamilton for hosting IceFest again, to Victoria Ryan for putting BookFest together,  and to all those who stopped by to say hi!

Boarshead Festival 2015

For many years now, I have wanted to experience the Boar's Head Festival at Christ Church in downtown Cincinnati. One thing or another has prevented me (last year it was a snowstorm the day of the ticket distribution). But this year, the lovely Robin and I attended, in the company of our friends Doug and Julie, and I'm so glad we did. 
The Boar's Head is probably the oldest continuing festival of the Christmas season. On its six-hundredth anniversary in 1940, it was first celebrated at Christ Church, Cincinnati. This year's performances mark the seventy-fifth year. 

The pageant is rooted in ancient times when boars were hunted as a public enemy. At Roman feasts, boar was the first dish served. Roasted boar was a staple of medieval banquets, much like our Thanksgiving turkey. As Christian beliefs overtook pagan customs in Europe, the presentation of a boar's head at Christmas came to symbolize the triumph of the Christ Child over sin.

The festival began with the entrance of the yule sprite bearing the tiny light of a burning taper. From it, the Dean of the church lit the great Festival candle and held it high before placing it on the altar.
From that moment on, the music and costumes and beauty of the celebration entranced us. At the midpoint of the program, cast members strode and climbed through the audience, singing the Wassail Song and wishing everyone a happy new year (below). 
From that point in the program, the mood turned worshipful as the nativity of Jesus was beautifully depicted, in one procession after another, including shepherds, magi, and more, filling the church with music both ancient and familiar. 
We attended the final performance of the weekend (I had it on good authority that this would be the best in many ways) starting at 5 p.m. on Sunday. 
It was a delightful experience, especially enlivened by the participation of numerous children in bright array. I'm so grateful to Christ Church for offering this massive event every year, and to Robin, Doug, and Julie for enjoying it with me.