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Michigan's Original Dickens Festival in Holly

Celebrate an old-fashioned holiday season with Charles Dickens inspired fun for the whole family Nov. 23-Dec.9, 2012 in Oakland County

What says "Christmas" more than Victorian-era carolers and a bustling holiday marketplace? Michigan's Original Dickens Festival in Holly is all that and more, spanning three jam-packed weekends – Nov. 23-25, Dec. 1-2 and 8-9, 2012 – filled with costumes, carols and plenty of roasting chestnuts.

While last year's event was slimmed back to one weekend, the 2012 affair, which is marking its 39th year, leaps back to its three-weekend glory. Expect tons of merriment and fun!

Festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 with the village's official tree lighting ceremony. Lots of caroling and community cheer are in store.

The fest officially gets rolling at noon on Saturday, Nov. 24 with a children's parade. From there, the fun runs noon-6 p.m. each Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 9.

All around this quaint Oakland County town, you'll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled for "old-timers." Ebenezer Scrooge is usually shuffling about – "you never know what kind of mood he is in," organizers say, "so best to ask before offering him a greeting!" Fewer bah-humbugs are in store from the Cratchit family and ghosts from A Christmas Carol, who are also afoot. Kids will get a kick out of these interactive characters that have stepped right out of a book.

Speaking of A Christmas Carol, watch for 1 and 4 p.m. showings of the stage version by the Blue Heron Theatre Company on Nov. 24 and Dec. 1 (Saturdays), and at 4 p.m. only on Dec. 8. There also are readings of the tale at 2 and 4 p.m. Sundays. And musical performances speckle the chilly air at various times all three weekends – along with games of skill and daring, or try the lower-key horse-drawn carriage rides.

Got wish lists? Santa Claus will be easy to spot in downtown Holly: He's meeting kids over at the Great Lakes Market Place on South Saginaw Street. Children are treated to crafts, free cookies and milk and, of course, the chance to chat with Santa – where they become part of the shops' window display as their photo is taken.

Make a day out of things on Saturday, Dec. 8. The popular Run Like the Dickens Races returns: The 5K walk and run and 10K run kick off around 9 a.m., and the Tiny Tim Trot is at 10:50 a.m. It's a scenic jog or sprint through town, starting and finishing at the Karl Richter Campus and including holiday carols, hot food and homemade treats. Things wrap up in time for the big-shebang Holly-day Parade, set for noon-2 p.m. and hosted by radio personality Kristin Burns of WNIC 100.3

As you stroll around this old-fashioned village, you may also spot radio personalities from CARS 108 (out of Flint), broadcasting live from the porch of the Holly Hotel on Sunday, Nov. 25. There are plenty of period-style singers, actors, vendors, merchants – and, of course, chances to get a jump on your holiday shopping at unique antique and boutique shops.

See the Metro Parent listing to learn more about the 2012 Michigan's Original Dickens Festival in Holly.

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