Dick­ens of a Christ­mas re­turns for sec­ond out­ing

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By LEANN SCHENKE [email protected]­coun­tynews.com

CHESTERTOWN — Fire breathers, trained fleas, magic lan­tern shows and Queen Vic­to­ria her­self are all sights vis­i­tors can ex­pect to see this week­end at the sec­ond Dick­ens of a Christ­mas fes­ti­val.

Build­ing off the suc­cess of last year’s fes­ti­val, founders and or­ga­niz­ers Kath­leen King and Kay Mac­In­tosh said there will be plenty of re­turn­ing fa­vorites from the pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tion as well as plenty of new en­ter­tain­ment, all fit­ting in with the Vic­to­rian theme.

The bulk of events will be held Fri­day evening — which also is First Fri­day in Chestertown — and all day Satur­day.

Start­ing Fri­day, the 200 block of High Street will be closed off for fes­ti­val events. It will re­main closed through 11 a.m. Sun­day.

From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fri­day, the 300 block of High Street will close for First Fri­day ac­tiv­i­ties.

Through­out the evening, there will be per­for­mances begin­ning with “Songs and Sto­ries by the Fire” with Jake Swaine, mas­ter sto­ry­teller and “weav­ing mag­i­cal tales” at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in Fountain Park.

Then at 7 p.m. tiny fleas will be per­form­ing in Phy­deaux’s Fly­ing Flea Cir­cus. For those con­cerned about the fleas feel­ing a chill Fri­day night, Phy­deaux as­sured Mac­In­tosh and King they will be equipped with tiny coats.

Then at 7:30 p.m., the Py­rox­otic Fire Dances from Wash­ing­ton, D.C., re­turn to Chestertown for an ex­panded per­for­mance this year with fire eaters and fire breathers.

Fi­nally, the Amer­i­can Rogues will play by the fire­side from 8 to 9 p.m.

Mac­In­tosh said the band is known world­wide for its Celtic tunes.

Dur­ing evening, vis­i­tors also can ex­pect car­ol­ers and plenty of peo­ple dressed in Vic­to­rian garb strolling about.

There also will be horse-drawn car­riages de­part­ing from the cor­ner of Cross and Can­non streets from 5 to 8 p.m.

A two-per­son car­riage costs $5 a ride, a six-per­son car­riage costs $2 a ride and 10-per­son wagon rides are free with do­na­tions ac­cepted. The car­riage rides also will be of­fered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Satur­day.

Ad­di­tion­ally, shops and gal­leries in town will re­main open later than usual, un­til 8 p.m.

Then on Satur­day, the fes­ti­val fea­tures a full sched­ule of events, which King said is to pro­vide guests with a feel­ing that are sur­prises around ev­ery cor­ner.

A good place to start is the “Dick­ens Wel­come Cen­ter” or as it is know to lo­cals, The Bank lo­cated at 211 High St. There peo­ple can get more in­for­ma­tion on the fes­ti­val’s of­fer­ings in­clud­ing a full sched­ule of events and tick­ets.

The Amer­i­can Rogues will play again Satur­day, start­ing at 10 a.m. on the Main Stage at the cor­ner of High Street and Lawyers Row. They also will play from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.

King and Mac­In­tosh said there are still tick­ets left for the Hol­i­day Hour Tour. They can be pur­chased at the wel­come cen­ter, along with a map of the tour. The house tour runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Through­out Satur­day, there will be dis­plays for peo­ple to drop in and see, such as the Peo­ple Sweet Shop and Gin­ger­bread House dis­play open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Peo­ples Bank.

There also are free shows, like the Magic Lan­tern Show at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Garfield Cen­ter for the Arts. The show takes view­ers back in time to ex­pe­ri­ence an 1890s “vis­ual ex­trav­a­ganza” pro­jected on a screen. King said such shows are what led to the de­vel­op­ment of the cinema.

Also at the Garfield, at 8 p.m. Satur­day and 3 p.m. Sun­day are per­for­mances of “Tiny Tim’s Christ­mas Carol” with lo­cal ac­tors tak­ing the stage to tell Tiny Tim’s ver­sion of events from Charles Dicken’s clas­sic “A Christ­mas Carol.”

For those who want to get some shop­ping done, Lon­don Row — or the 200 block of High Street — will fea­ture more than 20 ven­dors this year sell­ing Vic­to­rian-themed gifts, King said.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there will be more street per­form­ers, stilt-walk­ers, car­riage rides and the re­turn of the Wheel­men on their an­tique bi­cy­cles.

Satur­day’s events will end with an of­fer­ing of vin­tage Vic­to­rian punch recipes from 4:30 p.m. to mid­night at the LTO bar in town.

There will be beers and bon­fires from 6 to 9 p.m. at the foot of High Street. Amer­i­can Rogues will pro­vide acous­tic mu­sic from 7 to 8 p.m. and sam­ples of mi­cro­brews will be avail­able for pur­chase.

The fes­ti­val comes to a close Sun­day with the Run Like the Dick­ens 5K run and walk through Chestertown. Par­tic­i­pants are en­cour­aged to run the course or stroll through it in Vic­to­rian garb.

Reg­is­tra­tion opens at 7 a.m., but pre-reg­is­tra­tion is en­cour­aged to get a T-shirt. The race be­gins at 8 a.m. at the wel­come cen­ter on High Street.

Both King and Mac­In­tosh thanked the com­mu­nity for em­brac­ing and sup­port­ing the fes­ti­val.

Mac­In­tosh praised the cre­ative en­ergy in Chestertown seen in the dec­o­ra­tion of the Hebe Fountain as a Christ­mas tree this year.

She said King came up with the idea of turn­ing the fountain into a tree.

“With the bless­ing of Chestertown’s Mayor and Coun­cil and the Chestertown Gar­den Club (which dec­o­rates the park in clas­sic style for the hol­i­days), Zane Car ter then led a group of cre­ative tech tal­ents that in­cluded Ed Minch, Rob Glebe and Jon Han­ley to bring the con­cept to beau­ti­ful life,” Mac­In­tosh said.

Oth­ers to thank for as­sem­bling the tree are Bill Mac­In­tosh, Tom Len­tell, Bar­bara Slocum and Ellen Hurst, Kay Mac­In­tosh said.

For a full sched­ule or events, visit dick­en­schester town.org.

PHOTO BY LEANN SCHENKE

Vis­i­tors to last year’s Dick­ens of Christ­mas fes­ti­val in Chestertown pose for photo with Django the mon­key and han­dler Jerry Brown. The fes­ti­val re­turns this week­end.

PHOTO BY LEANN SCHENKE

Py­rox­otic dancer Tori Spooner is il­lu­mi­nated by fire dur­ing her dance dur­ing last year’s Dick­ens of a Christ­mas es­ti­val. This year’s event, from Dec. 7 to 9, will fea­ture more fire dancers in ad­di­tion to fire breathers and fire eaters.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

From left, Larry Wilt­bank and Phyl­lis Roberts work on dec­o­rat­ing the Hebe Fountain as a Christ­mas tree Dec. 4 in prepa­ra­tion for the Dick­ens of a Christ­mas fes­ti­val this week­end.

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