03.02.2009

  The Ahwahnee’s Heritage Holidays Special Event Features Return of Naval Personnel

Alex O. Bernal was 20 years old, convalescing in the Great Lounge of The Ahwahnee, Yosemite’s Four-Diamond, national landmark hotel, when he learned the Second World War had ended. “They didn’t tell us right away – they knew we’d probably tear the place up – first they locked us down and restricted us to quarters, and then they told us.”

National Park Service historian Patrick Chapin tracked down over 30 such Naval veterans, a few of whom will join Chapin on Tuesday, March 3 at 10 a.m. at The Ahwahnee for a public presentation on this curious bit of Yosemite’s past.
 
Chapin’s program is part of Yosemite’s 7th annual Heritage Holidays special event at The Ahwahnee (March 1-3) which celebrates Yosemite’s rich cultural history. This year’s sub-theme for the event is “Rangers In Paradise,” which will focus on the period that event directors Tom Bopp and Cherie Oliver call “the bookends of the Art Deco Era – World War I and World War II” - and possibly everything in between. 
 
Music and dance from Ragtime to Swing, history presentations during the day (including a Sonja Henie style ice skating demonstration at the Curry Village outdoor ice rink), and a music filled Gala Dinner inspired by 1930s Ahwahnee menus will pay tribute to the glamour, fashion and music of a bygone era. Activities will range from genuine speakeasy musical performances to period fashion shows and historical walking tours of The Ahwahnee, which opened in 1927 and still maintains much of its original Art Deco décor. Additionally, dance enthusiasts will be invited to learn, or brush up existing skills, with free Fox Trot, Tango Charleston and Waltz lessons followed by a classic Tea Dance in The Ahwahnee’s majestic Great Lounge.
 
Highlighting the festivities will include Monday’s five-course gourmet Gala Dinner with 1920’s themed menu and live entertainment as well as the Heritage Holidays Grand Ball, complete with dancing to a 12-piece jazz orchestra for a spectacular event finale.
 
DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite, the hospitality management company providing visitor services in the park, originally presented the event in 2002 to commemorate The Ahwahnee’s 75th anniversary. “Guests will truly be dazzled with the height of authenticity that we achieve in delivering this first-class themed celebration, “ said Chance Jorgensen, The Ahwahnee’s General Manager. “The Ahwahnee’s historical ambiance provides the perfect setting to recreate this fascinating time period and mentally transport guests back in time to enjoy it.”
 
For the 2009 Heritage Holidays, The Ahwahnee and Yosemite Lodge at the Falls are offering special value added lodging packages, to include:Two & three nights’ lodging (double occupancy) Two tickets to the five-course gourmet Gala Dinner, matched with wines and featuring live entertainment A special Yosemite keepsake Access to all Heritage Holidays special events and activities
 
Heritage Holidays package pricing for guests opting to enjoy luxurious accommodations at The Ahwahnee are $930 per couple, plus tax for three nights. The moderately priced Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, located just minutes from the festivities at The Ahwahnee, offers three-night packages at $516 per couple, plus tax.
 
For more information on Yosemite’s Heritage Holidays, or to make a reservation, call 801-559-4949, or visit online at www.yosemitepark.com/heritage.   For a list of Naval personnel stationed at The Ahwahnee during WW II, visit http://www.yosemitemusic.com ( http://www.yosemitemusic.com/ )
 
2009 Heritage Holidays Schedule of Events
 
5:30-7pm
Welcome reception with music by Tom Bopp and Janet Klein in the Solarium.
Join us for wine, hors d’oeuvres, music, and good company.
 
6:30-9:30pm
Vintage music by Tom Bopp accompanying normal service in The Ahwahnee Dining Room
Singer/pianist & Heritage Holidays co-director Tom Bopp has entertained Yosemite guests since 1983.
 
7-10pm
Speakeasy musical performance featuring Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys in The Ahwahnee Bar
Janet Klein and her first-rate band revive the best of novelty and naughty songs from the Art Deco era.
 
9:30-10:20am
“State Guardians of Yosemite – The FirstPark Rangers” in the Great Lounge
Ranger Mike Lynch & Char Wilson (granddaughter of Yosemite trail builder Gabriel Sovulewski).
 
10:30am-11:30am
“Vintage Music of WWI, with The Doughboy Revue” in the Great Lounge
Singer Ann Gibson & pianist Frederick Hodges with music that lifted the spirits of America.
 
Noon-1pm
Historic Ahwahnee Tour – Sign up in advance at the Concierge Desk (due to limited space, be sure to sign up early if you want to join the tour!)
Join a DNC Interpretative expert on a walk through The Ahwahnee’s rich history.
 
12:30 - 2pm
Ice Frolic with Gayle Delaney at the Curry Ice Rink – private event (weather permitting!)
U.S. Figure Skating Association Gold Medalist Gayle Delaney will skate a Sonja Henie style program, and teach you the joy of gliding on the ice in pairs and/or separately. Bring in-line wrist guards and a padded hat to avoid the most common ouches of early forays onto the ice!
 
1-2:30pm
Dance Instruction – in the Great Lounge
Beginners or Refreshers, start from square-one and strut right into the Tea Dance with the confidence of a pro! Includes one-step/tango from 1915, swing from 1940.
 
3-5pm
Tea Dance in the Great Lounge with Don Neely’s Royal Society Sextet with Carla Normand
World-class musicians and ballroom, incomparable setting, fine wines and, yes, tea - and you can learn new steps from one of our "taxi-dancers"!
 
6:30-9:30pm
5-course Gala Dinner in The Ahwahnee Dining Room – classic Deco-era menu, live vintage music with Tom Bopp, Ann Gibson, Frederick Hodges & Sara Klotz de Aguilar
 
5:30-11pm
Speakeasy musical performance – same performers listed above for the Gala Dinner, with an incomparable Jam Session starting at 9:30 pm in The Ahwahnee Bar
Premier Bay Area singer/pianist Sara Klotz de Aguilar, vintage-style vocalist Ann Gibson & scintillating pianist Frederick Hodges, our own Tom Bopp, and who-knows-who when the Jam begins!
 
8:30-10am
Movie: To be announced. In the Great Lounge
 
10am-noon
“The Ahwahnee Naval Hospital in WWII – A History & Reminiscence” in the Great Lounge
WWII Navy Veteran Alex Bernal shares stories, memories and images with Historian Pat Chapin, Tom Bopp, and perhaps a surprise guest or two!
 
12:30-1:30pm
Historic Ahwahnee Tour – Sign up in advance at the Concierge Desk (due to limited space, be sure to sign up early if you want to join the tour!)
Missed yesterday’s tour? Crave a second chance? Here it is!
 
2-3pm
Vintage Fashion: “Rangers in Paradise: Yosemite Guardians 1890-1950 – Great Lounge.
Presented by Cherie Oliver, ADSC Event Advisor and co-producer of Heritage Holidays, with period ladies’ clothing from the collection of Deborah Rush’s Fashions of Yesteryear and uniforms from the private collections of Bay Area Military History Recreation Society members.
 
4-5pm
Deco Belles Rehearsal in the Great Lounge
Under the direction of Laurie Gordon, get a sneak-preview of this eye-popping dance-troupe’s dazzling routine to be given in full-flower during tonight’s Grand Ball.
 
5:30 - 8pm
Vintage music by Tom Bopp – during normal dinner service in The Ahwahnee Dining Room
 
8-11pm
Heritage Holiday Grand Ball in the Great Lounge.
With live music by Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra with Carla Normand, including a special performance by the Deco Belles – in the Great Lounge. Break out your finest for this truly gala event!
 
About Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts
Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts is a subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, a leading hospitality provider with significant experience in hotel, retail, food service, recreation and transportation operations. The company’s portfolio includes historic properties in North America, such as Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon national parks; Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite; Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa; Niagara Falls State Park; Jones Beach; The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake; The Balsams Grand Resort; and The Gideon Putnam Resort. To learn more about Delaware North Companies’ expertise in the hospitality industry, visit www.dnchospitalitymgt.com ( http://www.dnchospitalitymgt.com/ ).
 
About Delaware North Companies
Delaware North Companies is one of the world’s leading hospitality and food service providers. Its family of companies includes Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment, Delaware North Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, Delaware North Companies International and Delaware North Companies Boston, owner of TD Banknorth Garden, Delaware North Companies is one of the largest privately held companies in the United States with revenues exceeding $2 billion annually and 40,000 associates serving half a billion customers in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.DelawareNorth.com ( http://www.delawarenorth.com/ ).
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Contact(s)

 

 

 

 

 

Kenny Karst ~ PR Manager
DNCParks& Resorts at Yosemite, Inc.
209.372.1445   |    kkarst@dncinc.com
Reservations: 801.559.4949
www.YosemitePark.com
 

 

 

 

 
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