BUCKHANNON – The organizers of A Dickens Christmas Faire and Festival invites vendors, local businesses, and patrons to assist in transforming Main Street into a Dickensian novel setting this December.
The new festival, named after the English author of the famous tale, “A Christmas Carol,” will take place Saturday, Dec. 3 from 2 to 7 p.m. throughout Main Street and Jawbone Park.
Event organizer Becki Westfall said the Dickens Christmas Committee has been meeting every Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. at Just Cuttin’ Up Salon, located at 11 E. Main St., to plan the festival. Westfall invited anyone with ideas or who is interested in participating in the festival’s organization to attend.
“I want to make it very, very clear that no one is excluded from participating,” Westfall said. “Everyone is invited, everybody’s ideas are meaningful and important. This is our first one, but we want to see many more years; this is our first big adventure.”
The committee is also planning to host an open casting call for characters Nov. 8 at 6 p.m., but the location has not been determined yet. (Follow their Facebook page or email DickensChristmasFestival.WV@gmail.com for updates.) Westfall shared some information about what’s in the works.
“We will have horse-drawn carriage rides through the streets, and there is no cost to ride them; however, we are asking for nonperishable food items to be donated as your entrance fee and all of that food that is collected that day will go to the Upshur Parish House to create food baskets for Christmas this year,” Westfall said.
Main Street will be decorated to match the theme of the festival with the help of supportive local businesses.
“We are decorating and we’re dressing in costume to step back into the 1840s of Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ on Main Street,” Westfall said. “We will have a blacksmith thanks to the Infamous Art Collective, and we’ll have a shoe-shining station thanks to Tateep Unique Boutique. We will have farriers (someone who makes and fits shoes for horses), candlemakers and potters on Main Street and the new [Mountain CAP of WV] Family Resource Center will have children’s events, free of charge. We will have activities, including decorating ornaments and games, and that is all being provided by them, which is fantastic because again, it’s no cost.”
Themed snacks such as chestnuts and turkey legs will be sold on Main Street, characters from the popular tale will be greeting everyone, and entertainment will take place at the Upshur County Courthouse steps and in Jawbone Park.
“We will have a live nativity scene and again, it’s all about the small businesses and bringing people in, so it’s from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., the horses and the talent will start promptly at 2 p.m.,” Westfall said.
All the vendors participating in the event must dress for the occasion and must send the committee an application beforehand.
“Anyone who wants to sing or dance or perform on the stages, we’re more than happy to have them,” she said. “Anyone who wants to set up as a vendor, we would love to have them, but the one kicker is that you must be dressed in costume. We highly encourage anyone in the community who would like to decorate and or dress in costume to come downtown and dress as well.”
At 6 p.m., Westfall and the committee are trying to finalize plans for a Costume, Caroling and Candle Parade, which would commence at the Upshur County Courthouse and travel down to Jawbone Park.
“At this time [we would like] our wonderful mayor [to] proclaim the start of Christmas season with the lighting of a tree that’s lovingly gifted by French Creek Christmas Tree Farm,” Westfall said. (Please note plans for the Costumer, Caroling and Candle Parade are still in the works.)
Then, just like in the age-old Christmas story, “Fezziwigs Ball,” A Dickens Christmas Faire Holiday Costume Ball will take place from 7-10 p.m. at the Buckhannon Opera House, 12 E. Main St. Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Fezziwig’s Ball at the Opera House will mark the conclusion of the festival.
“Tickets for the ball will be available on Eventbrite Nov. 1,” Westfall said. “It is a costume ball with all of the traditional English Christmas fare, and we will have a band and we will have the Scottish Highlanders dancers during the band’s break.”
Follow the Faire’s Facebook page for updated information.