What other Western New York event features a free performance with hundreds of performers and amazing outdoor special effects? That’s right – the annual Hill Cumorah Pageant, the oldest and largest outdoor theatrical productions in America, is back in its 80th year of production.
A Long and Colorful History
The first Hill Cumorah Pageant featured a handful of performers in rented costumes using car headlights as spotlights. A lot has changed as the pageant, now a Western New York tradition, celebrates its 80th birthday. With a water features, explosions, earthquakes and balls of fire, the Hill Cumorah Pageant is not your average summer event. It’s a must-see, free event that appeals to all ages.
“I hear from people who’ve said they’ve always wanted to go but never have,” said Neil Pitts, pageant president. “It’s a wonderful family experience. We’d like people to come and experience the grandeur of the performance and have special feelings their hearts as they watch these scenes from the Bible and Book of Mormon. We want people to walk away with a sense that this was an awesome experience!”
Performances Begin July 14
The pageant kicks off its week of performances Fri., July 14 at dusk. The pageant, which is free and family-friendly, is something of a theatrical miracle. More than 750 volunteers are cast into 1,200 roles within hours of arriving. After just one week of rigorous rehearsals, the show opens. Volunteers in the performance and on staff come to Western New York at their own expense from around the world. They do not come to Palmyra just to practice their sword fighting skills and learn dances, or to wear costumes and wigs. For these people, this is a time of spiritual renewal in the cradle of their faith. In addition to rehearsals, the cast also squeezes in more than 1,800 hours of volunteer service in Wayne, Ontario and Monroe counties.
Chamber Member Presents Palmyra Pageant
The Pageant is presented annually by Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce member The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Performances by the all-volunteer cast are July 14-15 and 18-22 and begin nightly at 9 p.m. There is seating for more than 7,000 guests. Visitors this year will also be able to don pageant costumes for photo booth pictures. Food is provided on-site by local service groups. Food tents open at 5 p.m. The Hill Cumorah is located on Highway 21, two miles north of Interstate 90, Exit 43. Parking and admission are free. Headsets are provided for Spanish translation, and American Sign Language interpretation is provided.
For more information about the Hill Cumorah Pageant, call 315-597-5851, go to www.hillcumorah.org or find us on Facebook under “Hill Cumorah Pageant.”