19th Annual Minnesota MidWinter Sword & Mumming Ale

The 2004 Minnesota MidWinter Ale was hosted by Uptown-on-Calhoun Morris. The ale was held Saturday, January 17, 2004, when the balmy breezes float out of Manitoba through our fair cities and bring a spring to every dance step. 2004 Schedule

What is it?

The MidWinter Ale is a seasonal celebration based on British folk traditions.

Mummers (colorfully garbed play-actors) re-enact the death and rebirth of -- take your pick -- the Sun, St. George, various other holy figures, or some unsuspecting sap in the audience. The Border dancers race into the area, dressed in rags and sometimes covered in chimney soot, and proceed to do dances that involve a lot of simulated violence -- crashing large sticks against each other, yelling, and leaping to great heights, all to the melodic accompaniment of accordion, drum, recorder, or what-have-you. The sword dancers show their skill by energetically and gracefully avoiding injury while wielding weapons (to similar musical accompaniment).Various other performers -- ranging from meek garland dancers to fierce dragons -- may entertain in other ways. The assembled company also is known to break into song.

In short, it's a great portable street party, and who needs one better than a bunch of Minnesotans in the middle of winter?

Where is it?

The ale is a set of roving performances, with stops in various parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The performers move in groups to different locations, where they stage short (30 - 45 minute) shows. In the past, performances have been at the Science Museum, Town Square Park, the St. Paul Public Library, the Children's Museum, Edgerton Senior Residence, Shriner's Hospital (for patients only), the Linden Hills (Minneapolis) Library and other places. The tour schedule for 2004 will not be finalized until December, but will likely include some familiar spots. Suggestions for pub stops are greatly appreciated.

Public performances will be given throughout Saturday, from morning until late afternoon.

Event Sponsors

Are you a business owner or site event coordinator that would like some really unusual entertainment? We jingle, we jangle, we sing and jump and generally create quite a lively scene. And cheap, too. If you are in our general area and would like us to stop by (either on this weekend or another time), send us some email. (Really special deals for brewpub owners.)

Performer Info

Participation is open to all British-tradition performing groups - mummers, dancers, singers, etc. We are not equipped to deal with musical groups that require equipment setup, however.

As in past years, there is no registration fee for this event, but we do ask teams (or individual performers) to send in a registration form, so we can plan the tours. Out-of-towners are greatly welcome and will be provided places to stay upon request. If you have participated in the past couple of years, you will automatically be notified. If you haven't, but would like to participate, please get in touch with the Ale Czarina (email listed below).

In past years, there has been some sort of gathering Friday night, a pot-luck and sing (ceili) on Saturday, and a brunch on Sunday morning. This year's schedule has not been set. Tours are all day Saturday.

More Info/Registration, etc.

For ale information or registration, contact Ale Czarina.


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