Boar’s Head Festival returns to Concordia University Ann Arbor this weekend

Annual festival runs Dec. 2-4

Boar's Head Festival at Concordia University Ann Arbor. (Concordia University Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR – Each December, students, faculty, staff and community members at Concordia University Ann Arbor come together to enact medieval Christmas traditions in the annual Boar’s Head Festival.

Beginning in 1978 through the vision of three Concordia professors—Paul Foelber, John Sturmfels and Quentin Marino—the Boar’s Head Festival has become a treasured memory for many. It remains a vibrant and living tradition as it continues to profess the wonder of the Christmas miracle.

A brief history of the Boar’s Head Festival

While the tradition of the Boar’s Head Festival dates back to the 14th century in England, the actual symbol of serving boar can be traced to ancient Roman times when boar was the preferred dish at great feasts. In medieval England, Christians considered the wild boar to be a ferocious beast and a symbol for evil. They adapted the Roman feast custom of serving a boar’s head on a platter to represent the triumph of the Christ child over evil.

CUAA's 2017 Boar's Head Festival. (Concordia University Ann Arbor)

In 1963 CUAA -- originally “Concordia Lutheran Junior College” -- hired Dr. Paul Foelber as its first choir director. None of what follows would have happened without this genesis event.

By 1978, Dr. Foelber, professor John Sturmfels, and professor Quentin Marino joined forces to begin the Boar’s Head Festival tradition at CUAA.

The Boar’s Head fever spreads through the campus and community, making it one of the best-loved traditions in CUAA history.

Throughout the years, more than 65,000 people have attended the festival.

In 2018, after 40 consecutive years and more than 140 consecutive performances, Dr. Neil Skov, emeritus professor of science, retired from the role of Good King Wenceslas. He hand-picked Jonathon Neuendorf to take over the role.