Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival

Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival

The Louisville Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival is a Kentucky Christmas tradition.

December 29 and 30
5:30pm and 8:00pm

2023 marks the 44th Anniversary of the St. Paul UMC Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival, an event that brings more than 2,000 people to our church to share in a unique depiction of the gift of Christ to the world. 

The performance was created by a core group of visionary staff and volunteers. It takes over a hundred volunteers in our cast and behind the scenes to put on our performances. Several adults have shared stories of when they first participated as children.

As the Boar’s Head Festival is not a part of the regular church budget, each year we seek to raise necessary funds to present this gift to our community. The Festival depends solely upon volunteer time and generous financial donations from St. Paul church members. 

St. Paul UMC has a rich tradition of the arts in ministry. Praising God through music and drama is a beautiful way to worship and to be blessed. We know there are many people who leave the Festival feeling the beauty and love that Jesus brought to all, from peasants to kings.

There are a couple of ways to support the Festival: make a donation and volunteer to help. Please consider a generous donation today. You may give by check, clearly designating it for Boar’s Head, or you may give online.

If you have never been to the Festival, please make plans to attend and to bring a friend! Performances are December 29 and 30 at 5:30pm and 8:00pm both days. Tickets are free and can be picked up at church during ticket office hours, requested by phone at 502-459-1595 or email at, or obtained online. Tickets will be available beginning Monday, December 11. Ticket office will be open Monday-Thursday, 10:00am-2:00pm.

Reception: Wassail and desserts will be served in McAdams Hall after each performance. There will be opportunities to mingle and meet members of the cast, as well as have your picture taken with the Boar and cast members!

It’s not too late to make a contribution to support this year’s performance. You may send in a check, or donate here:

Volunteers are ALSO needed on Dec. 26 when we transform the sanctuary by setting up theatre lighting and building the staging for the show. If you can spare an hour or two that day, drop by and get some exercise. There are other ways to help, like ushering, volunteering to be part of the festival performance, and inviting your friends and family. 

Follow the Boar’s Head Facebook Page and other church news for the latest on the St. Paul UMC Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival.

Donation levels:

  • Sprites (up to $99)
  • Shepherds ($100-$249)
  • Saints ($250-$499)
  • Angels ($500 – $749)
  • Kings ($750 – $999)
  • Stars of Wonder ($1000 and up)

The Performance

A tiny gold sprite bears a lighted candle into the darkened church, symbolizing the coming of the light into the darkened world. Representing the church, a minister receives the light. From this flame rises the lights of the altar and then, the lights of the church itself.  A brass fanfare announces the entrance of the Boar’s Head Celebrants.  Those from many walks of life, from the greatest to the humblest process to the altar. All bring gifts, suggesting the fullness of Gods gifts to us, to lay at the feet of Christ.

Next come the waits: medieval carolers sharing gifts of gladness. King Wenceslas and his page enter and share their journey of caring for fellow humans. Woodsmen and yule log sprites search for a suitable log to take home to the fireplace. The yule log is lit from last year’s embers. It represents the warmth of the family fireside and the continuance of human life and concern. Additionally, the Yule Log symbolizes the rekindling of love. Finally the shepherds come, their simple adoration joined by the greatest of Wise Men, also humbled by this newborn Child.

When all have assembled, the haunting hymn In the Bleak Midwinter is sung by both cast and congregation. All kneel and adore the Lord of lords to the music of the Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence. The church is darkened and the Epiphany Star shines. The Festival ends with a majestic brass fanfare and a rendition of O Come, All Ye Faithful, sung by cast and congregation. 

The History

The history of the Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival reaches back into the days of the Roman Empire. The boar was the first dish served at great Roman feasts. In Norman England, the boar was the sovereign of the great forests, a menace to man and a symbol of evil. The serving of the boar’s head represents the triumph of Christ over evil.

The Festival has its roots in centuries of tradition, having been first presented at least as early as 1340 at Queen’s college, Oxford, England. In time it became part of Christmas celebrations in the great Manor Houses of England. The festival came to America in 1888 to Hoosac School, Hoosac, New York. The Louisville Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival is a descendant of that early festival. 

Read more about the history of the festival. 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


Donate to the Louisville Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival