Ready to celebrate

Melanie Preston (center) has dressed up as Queen Mary of Scotland at the London Bridge Renaissance Faire in year’s past, along with her court including Ashley Kent (left) and Amberly Fresh (right). All three will revive the roles at the Royal Candlelit Feast and Ball on Oct. 2.

Lake Havasu City’s October schedule is packed with events commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the London Bridge, and the first weekend of festivities will feature the 50th Royal Jubilee Celebration.

The jubilee will kick off Saturday, Oct. 2 with the Royal Candlelit Feast and Ball and will reconvene on Sunday morning for the annual Garden Brunch and Tea which will lead into the Elrose Dussault Costume Contest. The Jubilee Celebration is being organized by the Lake Havasu Museum of History, and Havashire Festivals Inc., which organizes the London Bridge Renaissance Faire in Havasu every year.

Melanie Preston said Havashire Festivals wanted to get involved with planning the London Bridge’s 50th anniversary and with all of the old school Tutor costumes and other old English attire that was featured in the original festivities back in 1971 her organization seemed like a perfect fit.

“We felt that what we do kind of fits in with the whole history of the bridge being in our town, and also English history as well,” Preston said. “So we were looking for a way to get involved, and at our faire every year we do a feast at the event and we felt that would be a great thing to bring under the bridge and make a whole experience out of.”

Although the Jubilee Celebration includes two meals, each will have a significantly different feel and focus. Preston said ticket sales wrapped up this week and the Royal Candlelit Feast and Ball completely sold out of the 100 available spots, while the Garden Brunch and Tea nearly sold out as well.

Preston said the feast on Saturday night will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., when it will open up to the general public for the ball which will feature a DJ with lots of 70s music and dancing.

Preston said proceeds from the jubilee will be distributed similarly to how the organization distributes profits from the Renaissance Faire each year. She said Havashire Festivals provides scholarships for students attending Arizona State University’s Havasu campus, and this year it plans to donate to STEM programs for local elementary schools as well. The Lake Havasu Museum of History will also receive some of the proceeds from the event.

Royal Candlelit Feast and Ball

The feast will be set up inside a tent under the London Bridge in the English Village, but Preston said the tent will be open on two sides for most open views for the dinner guests.

“It’s going to be banquet style with rows of tables, candles, flowers, banners, and all of that,” Preston said.

Preston said the idea for the feast came from the dedication of the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City in 1971, which also featured a large tent decorated in kingly attire for its VIP black tie dedication dinner. The dedication dinner 50 years ago was, itself, inspired by the bridge’s original dedication in 1831 in the city that gave the bridge its name.

The Candlelit Feast will feature a formal sit-down medieval themed feast, complete with a four-course meal. Preston said everyone in attendance will be dressed in formal attire – be it medieval or modern.

Lake Havasu Museum of History Director Hannah Rangel said the feast will be an interactive experience for the guests who will be visited by a group of French privateers who Rangel said has some surprises in store for the dinner guests. The feast will also feature dueling queen’s tables. Rangel will be dressed as Queen Elizabeth of England, while Preston will play the role of Queen Mary of Scotland.

“There will be rival courts of the English and the Scots. It will be fun, with lots of interaction,” Preston said.

Rangel said the feast will also include modeling of some of the costumes that made their debut in the original costume contests in the ‘70s, and have since been donated to the museum’s collection.

“We are going to show the history of the costumes in the city, what they were modeled after and the time period, and also who made it because a lot of the people who made and donated those are no longer here – some of the pioneers,” Rangel said. “Some of the dresses that they made in the previous costume contests are just gorgeous. So we will talk about those and give some history. We are putting a large emphasis to make sure that the history is correctly represented for the city.”

Other entertainment for the feast and ball include a violinist, a performance by a local belly dancing troop known as the Silk Moon Nomads, followed by a DJ.

Garden Brunch and Tea

Overnight the set up will transform from a medieval feast into a more modern English breakfast.

“All the medieval stuff is coming down and all the tea cups and pastries and everything will be set up for the tea,” Preston said. “The brunch is actually in a different era. It’s not medieval, it’s more modern day with the big hats. More the current Queen Elizabeth, not the renaissance.”

Rangel said the idea is for the brunch to be a more relaxing and mellow affair, and guests will be dressed in less formal attire. But there will be prizes given to the guests with the most marvelous hat.

“In England they always wear the most fantastic hats,” Rangel said.

“The more unique the better,” Preston added. “So we are hoping that people will be creative and make their own hat or decorate it accordingly.”

Rangel said tea will be served using the museum’s collection of porcelain tea cups from a variety of countries.

“There will be a history of tea and tea tasting,” Rangel said. “We will also be honoring some key veterans in our community because that is what the queen in England does, and we have a huge veteran community that does amazing work throughout the city. Then we will do a small parade of the new costumes that are coming out.”

As the brunch wraps up it will lead into the Elrose Dussault Costume Contest with the costume judging and awards set to take place at the London Bridge.

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