‘Ramona’ contest canceled again by coronavirus fundraising set – press enterprise
For the second season in a row, organizers have canceled the ‘Ramona’ competition, the interior region’s iconic and long-standing outdoor game, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And due to the financial toll cancellations on the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater’s budget, a virtual “Ramona-Thon” is scheduled for Saturday May 1 to celebrate the bowl’s signature production and raise funds.
“How’s ‘Ramona’, that’s how the bowl is,” said Lori VanArsdale, former chair of the board.
VanArsdale estimates that 80% of the Bowl’s revenue is generated from the event which is typically held in April and May in the open-air amphitheater south of Hemet. The loss of that income is straining the budget and making it difficult to keep needed repairs in the bowl, she said.
“We hope to make up for the fact that we haven’t done the show for two years,” said board chairman Stacey Bailey, who added that the concerts, a summer theater program for young people and the October Boo Bowl event were also canceled.
“We haven’t done any events since we canceled Ramona in 2020,” Bailey said.
“Ramona-Thon” is a three-and-a-half-hour virtual event that begins at 2pm Saturday and can be seen on Bowl’s website at www.ramonabowl.com and on its social media pages. While viewing a collection of historical footage and interviews from the cast, crew and volunteers, people will have the opportunity to donate.
VanArsdale said people are also welcome to write checks and mail them to the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater, 27400 Ramona Bowl Road, Hemet, CA 92544.
VanArsdale called it “heartbreaking” that the play should be canceled again, two years before the 100th anniversary of the first performance in 1923.
Although the economy begins to reopen as COVID-19 cases plummet, the play is something a cast of nearly 400 people typically work on for several months, starting in late fall, a- she declared. Such gatherings were not allowed due to health concerns.
The show is presented at the Ramona Bowl Amphitheater, which can seat 5,443 seats.
Designated an official play of the State of California, “Ramona” is a story in the style of “Romeo and Juliet” starring Ramona, half Scottish, half Indian, and her lover Alessandro, an Indian working on his ranch. family. It is based on an 1884 novel written by Helen Hunt Jackson, which sought to draw attention to the plight of American Indians.
The production is believed to be America’s oldest outdoor play.