It’s a cold, dark night on Nov. 30, but you bundle up in layers of your warmest woolens. You and your loved ones climb into your horse-drawn carriage, pull thick robes over your skirts and trousers, and begin the long journey to the Mountain Manor Hall on the mountainous Cumberland Plateau. Once there on this blustery winter evening, you see lights from hundreds of candles, and you can hear laughter and music. You’re glad you came.

You’ve arrived at the Madrigal Christmas Feast, and you know it will be the highlight of your holiday season. Everyone will be there, and you begin looking for your friends among the crowd of people filling the hall. Aromas waft from the kitchen as the chef puts the final touches on the feast to come. The scent of spiced cider fills the air. Greens garland the hall, and the centerpiece is a Christmas tree ablaze with lights.

As all the guests are seated, a trumpet fanfare fills the hall and the Duke and Duchess of Cumberland in all their finery arrive. Although the Queen has sent her picture, she has been unable to take the long and arduous journey to the hall, and has sent the Duke and Duchess to represent her. She has asked them to give out small gifts to the guests in her honor.

Following an appetizer that was the favorite of King Henry VIII, platters piled high with turkey legs and skewered beef arrive. More food is placed on the already laden tables and the music begins, all of your favorites from holidays gone by sung by a choir that sounds like angels.

The Court Jester in bright attire entertains with parodies and fables. In a dim corner, a lone gypsy woman waits to read your palm and tell your fortune.

But wait! Did you forget to get your tickets to this gala event? It’s not too late! Quickly send a check to the Crossville Arts Council, 99 Municipal Avenue, Crossville, TN 38555. The cost is $56 for adults, $36 for children under 12. Deadline is Friday, Nov. 23, or your long carriage ride to the Mountain Manor Hall at 426 Sparta Drive will be in vain. Be sure to tell all your friends that they must arrive by 6:30 to take part in all the festivities. Call 456-2006 for more information.

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