Set at the picturesque Glen Eyrie Castle, the Madrigal Banquet has delivered a magical Christmas experience to visitors since 1989. With 11 performances held each December, the Madrigal Banquet is held in the Castle’s Great Hall and offers a historical trip back in time for a 16th century-style banquet that includes a live, interactive performance and a four-course dinner.
The Madrigal Banquet was originally created to bring an event to the castle in December when no other conferences were taking place. The Castle, owned and operated by The Navigators since 1953, was typically quiet around the holidays. Madrigal Banquet Director and Creator David McIntosh envisioned the Castle coming to life during the Christmas season and used his background in college music to bring the production to life. Since then, more events like concerts and teas have been added and the public is more aware of the beautiful setting that is Glen Eyrie Castle.
Guests at the Madrigal Banquet should expect a fully immersive experience. Everything from the decorations to the costumes are thoughtfully curated. Each meal course is accompanied by a musical group and the production features paid professional instrumentalists and vocalists. Historically, Christmas music is strongly influenced by the carols from the Middle Ages, so the production is a combination of great music, storytelling, tremendous food, and a peaceful and inspiring setting. Guests can also expect to learn a jig dance.
This year’s menu includes culinary delights such as butternut squash soup, a winter apple salad, pork osso bucco (or an alternative vegetarian entrée), and a chocolate fig mousse cake.
“It’s a unique place with a unique history,” McIntosh says. “We really want people to come in, relax and be able to exhale a little bit and sit down and catch their breath.”
Ultimately, the staff and the army of volunteers that bring the production to life hope to bring Castle guests joy and the opportunity to enjoy Christmas in a non-commercialized way. McIntosh hopes the setting and the performance feel restorative to guests.
Tickets go on sale in early September annually. If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas in a unique way, look no further than the Madrigal Banquet at Glen Eyrie Castle.