Dust off your nineteenth-century inspired bloomers and top hats, Michigan’s Original Dickens Festival is returning to Holly’s historic downtown district starting Nov. 27, 2015 and running for three weekends through Dec. 13, 2015.
Warm up with some caroling starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 at the Presbyterian church in prelude to the lighted parade. The procession begins in Holly Elementary School’s parking lot and ends with the tree lighting ceremony downtown, where Santa will make his debut appearance on the “Oh! Christmas Tree” stage.
Starting Saturday, Nov. 28, the fun really begins with the Children’s Parade, starting at the Tiny Tim’s Children’s Tent at 12:30 p.m.
The second weekend, Dec. 5-6, the Christmas Parade proceeds down East Maple Street, beginning at 10 a.m. The chili and hot chocolate tents open for business Saturday. Grab a warm snack before checking out the Steampunk Fashion Show costume contest. Then, don’t miss the Hats on Parade Sunday. Make your way to Clock Corner to see the Living Nativity Scene in the afternoon before the sun sets.
The final weekend, Dec. 12-13, take part in special Christmas sales, a DIA Away display and a Toys for Tots Drive. Saturday, connect with your inner detective during the Holly Scavenger Hunt. And Sunday, kids can decorate their own holiday cookies in the Children’s Tent.
Every weekend, Santa’s periodical Inspirations Workshops at Inspirations Arts and Crafts Workshop on Saginaw Street allow visitors to craft their own personalized gifts, worthy of a North Pole, toy assembly line. Hadley House Museum will be open so visitors can brush up on their nineteenth-century history. Kids experience a creative spin on lessons catered especially for them by attending Children’s Story Hour, hosted by Queen Victoria.
Horse-drawn carriage rides let visitors experience old-fashioned transportation, and kids can send postcard requests to Mr. Claus in the Children’s Tent. But if you’ve prepared a wish list in advance, you’re bound to see the jolly, bearded fellow greeting kids downtown. Keep your eyes peeled for Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts from A Christmas Carol, too. Watch them in their native story onstage at the Red Devil Theater at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. every Saturday and at 2 and 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Don’t neglect the Oh! Christmas Tree stage at the heart of downtown. When visitors aren’t breaking a leg during Victorian dance lessons, musical entertainment ensues onstage, courtesy of Jenna Veda and the Human State and vocalist Katelyn Georgianna Vallier. The Dickens Radio Show keeps listeners up to date on the latest Charles Dickens-inspired news, too.
Burn away seasonal sweets Saturday, Dec. 12 and participate in the Run Like the Dickens Races: a 5K and 10K run and a 5K walk that kick off at 9 a.m. Young runners can partake in the Tiny Tim Trot at 10:50 a.m.
With the exception of kick off night, Friday, Nov. 27 and the Run Like the Dickens Races, festival hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 28-Dec. 13, 2015.
Get even more information on this year’s Holly Dickens Festival in the Metro Parent calendar.
Photo by Terry L. Connell