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RAMONA Our History, Our

RAMONA Our History, Our Legacy Color photos by Joel Ortiz. When Helen Hunt Jackson wrote her story “Ramona” she intended it to be a tale of injustice and the abuse of the Native Americans. Little did she know it would turn out to be one of the most enduring love stories of the 20th Century. Biographer Ruth Odell wrote of Jackson, “Her contact with the Indians set off a fuse of idealism she had not known she possessed.” And while she was an advocate for the tribes in our local area, she also wrote a novel that drew people to California in droves to visit the romantic locales describe in “Ramona”. The tale of Ramona and Alessandro brought tourists to California as never before. In 1913 Chester Kline, publisher and editor of The San Jacinto Valley Register, wrote an article suggesting that the city weave the story of Ramona into the activities of the annual carnival. He pointed out that the first chapters of the book “teems with references to the San Jacinto Valley”. Several people were interested but it was IN THE BEGINNING: The first Ramona and Alessandro portrayals in 1923. members of the Hemet Chamber of Commerce who finally got the job done and hired Garnett Holme to write and direct the first production of “Ramona” in 1923. A wooden stage with a cheesecloth backdrop and the audience sitting on blankets and rocks was the setting for the first performance. Now with 95 years have come many improvements in both the setting and accommodations for the audience; there has even been an update to the play itself. However, the spirit of the play has remained the same. The injustice to the Native Americans still rings through but over the seasons the play has added more of the celebration of the Native American traditions. The Red Tail Spirit Dancers share the joy of the Elder blessing in a way that is beautiful and authentic. Internationally TRADITIONS: Ramona Hoop Dancers. 12 March, 2018 Inland Entertainment Review

RAMONA: Spanish dancers. ALWAYS A CROWD: The crowd at the parking lot for Ramona in 1925. recognized Hoop dancer Terry Goedel amazes with his performance. When the novel was first published the tourists came to California to see the setting of the story fascinated by the portrayal of life on a rancho, to see where Ramona and Alessandro lived and died. Much of Jackson’s novel uses true life occurrences; a Native American was killed by Sam Temple and his trial was held in San Jacinto, there were tribes in danger of losing their lands - in fact Jackson herself hired a lawyer who defended the Soboba tribe and helped them keep their land. When the valley residents chose the site of the Ramona Pageant, they wanted the audience to be able to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of the natural setting. Every spring the hills come alive with the spectacle of the Ramona Pageant, the color of the Spanish dancers, the surprise of the Rock Indians, the excitement of the Cowboys as they ride the newly restored Americana trail, and the power and majesty of the ceremonies of the Native Americans. Coming to see Ramona should be an all day event. The gates to the Bowl open at 1:30pm and it is well worth it to arrive then. Enjoy RAMONA: Ramona and Felipe dancing. the entertainment in the courtyard. Eat at the Kiwanis BBQ, or for a sit down experience with the most spectacular view in the valley eat at the Ramona Terrace. You can visit the museum which tells the story of “Ramona” performances back to 1923. The gift shop has a variety of Ramona themed items. Seats for the play vary from the up close seats in the lower section to the box seats at the top of the amphitheatre that are shaded and include waitress service. Standard pricing ranges from $28 to $47. Take advantage of the local discount price of only $20 for those who live in the San Jacinto Valley and Idyllwild. The Ramona Pageant is truly a spectacle at its finest. That is why it is the longest running outdoor drama in America and California’s Official Outdoor Play. If you have never seen “Ramona” make this year the one where you learn the history and romance of the valley you live in. Become a part of the legacy that makes us so special! IER RAMONA TICKETS & INFORMATION Ramona performances this year are April 21 and 22, April 28 and 29, and May 5 and 6. Gates open at 1:30pm and the play starts at 3:30pm. For tickets and information call 951-658-3111 or go to The Ramona Bowl is located at 27400 Ramona Bowl Rd. in Hemet. March, 2018 Inland Entertainment Review 13

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