November 2, 2017

57th Boar’s Head Festival



Sunday, January 7, 2018, 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.


  • Dinner at 12:30 p.m. with 1:30 p.m. performance
  • Dinner at 3 p.m. with 4 p.m. performance.

Dinner with Performance Ticket (includes Preferred Performance Seating): $20

Performance Tickets: $6

Ticket requests are fulfilled based on availability.

The sooner the better. The dinner sells out early each year.


TO PURCHASE TICKETS beginning Wednesday, November 8.


IN PERSON: Come into the church office Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – Noon

(closed Wednesday- Friday, November 22-24)


BY MAIL: (Available through Wednesday, December 27)

Send a check made payable to “St. John’s Episcopal Church.”

Mail to: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave., Youngstown, OH 44503

Attn.: Boar’s Head

Please include:

___ phone number

___ stamped, self-addressed envelope

___ performance time

___ check ($6/ performance or $20/ dinner and performance)

___ (Patrons) level of giving/ticket request

ONLINE: Paypal Purchase option opens on November 8, 2017

Please use the dropdown to select an event option. You will be taken to a PAYPAL checkout where you can change the number of tickets. You can also return to this page and choose additional options before checking out. This is useful if some members of your party want to eat dinner and others can only attend the performance.

Ticket Options


Please bring that receipt in one of the following formats:

  • A Printed Email of your Paypal payment confirmation
  • Digital Media Also Acceptable – Phone, Ipad/Tablet, Digital Camera, Laptop
    • You can access the confirmation email at the door.
    • Wifi will be available to access your email confirmation on Event Day.
    • Device Screenshot of the confirmation email

PATRON TICKETS are available November 1, 2017. Patrons may also buy additional tickets at the regular price. Patrons received by December 1 will be listed in the program book.

Please purchase Patron Tickets by mail or in person.

Thank you for your continuing support and generosity!

Patrons are asked to choose one of the following benefactor categories:

Boars Head Angels ($50)

Patrons will receive their choice of one dinner/performance ticket or

4 performance tickets


Pipes and Drums ($100)

Patrons will receive 2 dinner/performance tickets or 6 performance tickets.


Star of the East Torchbearers ($250)

Patrons will receive 4 dinner/performance tickets or 8 performance tickets.


Yule Log Pages ($500)

At this level and above please let us know your ticket request.

Waits ($750)

Kings’ Pages ($1,000)

Beefeaters ($2,000)

Yule Log Sprites ($3,000)

Christmas Sprites ($5,000)


Ticket requests are fulfilled based on availability.

The sooner the better. The dinner sells out early each year.

Patron tickets may be purchased at any time.

To ensure availability, however, and to have your name published in the Boar’s Head Program please purchase by December 1.

Thank you so much for your generosity.

The Festival & Its History

A tiny sprite bears a lighted candle into the darkened church symbolizing the coming of the Light into the darkened world. Representing the Church, the Rector receives the light, and from this flame rise the lights of the altar, and then the lights of the Church itself.

A brass fanfare announces the entrance of the Boar’s Head company. Next come the waits, medieval carolers, praising the Incarnate Lord; then King Wenceslas and his page; the woodsmen with the Yule Log, ridden by a tiny sprite; the shepherds searching for the Christ; and finally the Three Wise Men, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrhh.

When all have assembled, the haunting hymn of Christina Rosetti, In the Bleak Midwinter, is sung by both cast and congregation. To the music of the Eucharistic hymn Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, all kneel in adoration of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The church is darkened and the Epiphany star shines over the altar.

The history of the Boar’s Head reaches back into the days of the Roman Empire. The Boar was the first dish served at great Roman feasts. In Norman England, the Boar was the sovereign of the great forests, a menace to man and a symbol of evil. The serving of the Boar’s Head thus represents the triumph of Christ over evil, begun with his birth at Christmas and manifested as Savior of the whole creation at Epiphany. By the 12th century the symbolism and ceremony of serving the Boar’s Head at Christmastide was fully developed.

The Yule Log, lit from last year’s embers, representing the warmth of the family fireside and the continuance of human life and concern, has from earliest times symbolized the rekindling of love. The old year passes, the new is born, yet the same love lights each.

No one knows who planned the first Boar’s Head procession. Its earliest origins seem to have been traced to Oxford University, founded circa 1167, and specifically to Oxford’s Queen’s College, endowed in 1340 (some sources say 1341), which recorded a Procession of the Boar’s Head by the mid-14th century. Within three or four centuries of evolution at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, other elements were gradually added to the celebration: the mince pie, the plum pudding, the Yule Log, the shepherds, the waits, the Three Wise Men, King Wenceslas, the pipers, drummers, and the Beefeaters (the ceremonial guards of the Tower of London). The Boar’s Head & Yule Log celebration was a popular Christmas event in the great English manor houses of the 17th century. Eventually, the custom was carried to colonial America.

In 1892 the Rev. Edward Dudley Tibbets, D.D., instituted the Boar’s Head & Yule Log Festival at the Hoosac School, Hoosick, New York, an Episcopal institution. This version, with some of the accompanying music by Frank C. Butcher, is the main source of the Festival as celebrated at St. John’s Episcopal Church. For more than four decades, the music for the format utilized here was selected, adapted, arranged, and composed by Dr. Ronald L. Gould, Organist-Choirmaster at St. John’s from 1960 through 2002. Upon stepping into the role of organist-choirmaster in 2003, Dr. Richard Konzen determined to carry on in Dr. Gould’s footsteps; thus although many of the specific musical choices change from year to year, certain traditional local elements remain constant and we continue to use Dr. Gould’s music and format.

May this offering of praise to Jesus Christ at his Epiphany recall to us all the great gift of love given us by the Father in the person of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

From WKBN NEWS- January 2016

Past Event Photos on Flickr

Boar's Head Festival