What is America’s longest-running outdoor drama? Probably a play in New York or a historical reenactment in the Southeast, right? No, it takes place right here in Southern California in the small city of Hemet, and it tells the story of the conflict among Native Americans, Californios and Americans shortly after the Gold Rush.
It is the Ramona Pageant, which was first performed in 1923 in the hills close to where the original book, Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, was set. In celebration of the 90th anniversary of the play, the pageant brought a decorated carriage, Spanish riders, Spanish and Native American dancers, and a host of American cowboys from the play to the 2013 Rose Parade.
View the slideshow attached to this article for photos of the Ramona Pageant entry. With beautiful costumes reflecting a specific era in 19th-century Southern California history, the group was perfect to follow the equally historic City of San Gabriel Centennial float.
Jehnean Washington, who played Ramona in the 2012 and 2013 pageants, rode in the carriage, a vis-à-vis pulled by Percheron/Quarter Horse crosses provided by G and F Carriages. She was joined by Duane Minard (Alessandro), Kathi Anderson (Señora Moreno) and Daniel Martinez (Juan Canito). Tournament of Roses Examiner interviewed Washington last summer and wrote it up in “Jehnean Washington, Native American actress, is Ramona in 2013 Rose Parade.”
The Ramona Bowl, home to the Ramona Pageant, is set in a natural amphitheater with rock formations and natural vegetation as a backdrop. The Bowl is putting on a poker ride and barbecue fundraiser with the heroes and villains of the pageant on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Riders can join in the trail ride, and non-riders can enjoy the barbecue and live music. Information is in this PDF flier.
Reader who would like to attend the 2014 Ramona Pageant can find more information on the website. Dates are April 12, 13, 26, 27, and May 3 and 4. For more about the book and play, read “Ramona Pageant rides into the 2013 Rose Parade.”
The theme of the 124th Rose Parade and 99th Rose Bowl Game was “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” The 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter.
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