BUCKHANNON – The Dickens Christmas Festival and Faire is still looking to cast Scrooge,the Ghost of Christmas Present and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, among other roles.
Event organizer Becki Westfall attended the Nov. 9 Upshur County Chamber of Commerce meeting to update local businesses about the planning of the upcoming event.
“The Dickens Christmas Faire is Dec. 3 and we are super excited,” Westfall said. “Every Tuesday night we meet at my shop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. to plan everything. This is really important for our community because Dickens believed in charity, kindness and forgiveness of others, and in this time, we need to bring our families together.”
Westfall is hoping to reach as many businesses as possible so they can contribute to the fair.
“I do need businesses to reach out by Nov. 15, because we are doing handbills — at no cost to the business owners — with a little bit of information about what your business has done that day,” Westfall said. “The Family Resource Center, the Lions Club and the Shriners are doing children’s activities. We have decorations, candy and Mrs. Claus, and that’s all free to the children.”
Artisans from the era will be on display, including a blacksmith and shoe shiner. The planning committee is hoping to find more, possibly potters or glass blowers.
“The Gaudets and the Reeds are instrumental and putting horse-drawn carriage rides together for us,” Westfall said. “There is no charge to ride; however, we are asking that you please provide a nonperishable food item. All the things gathered will go to the Parish House to help us put the baskets together for Christmas.”
Westfall said most of the businesses on Main Street will be participating and have special activities planned.
“Most of the businesses on Main Street are super excited,” Westfall said. “The ones that I’ve talked to want to be part of it. They’re going to dress up, they’re going to decorate their windows and they have special activities for inside. Throughout the whole day, we will have chicken legs and chestnuts that we’re roasting on the open fire and you can purchase those. We will have several activities through the streets and at 5:30 p.m. we’re lining up for the Christmas, costume, caroling and candlelight parade.”
Following the parade, mayor Robbie Skinner will light the Christmas tree and proclaim the start of the holiday season. A ball will also be held at the Opera House.
“If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, please do so on Eventbrite for the Fezziwigs Ball,” Westfall said. “You don’t have to have a costume, but if you’d like to dress up, well, there are some people out there that are going to really show their stuff with their outfits.”
The planning committee hopes this could become the winter Strawberry Festival.
“We really want everybody to be part of this,” Westfall said. “The Strawberry Festival just had their 81st year, and they had to start somewhere. My husband’s uncle was the first Strawberry King, so this time, we’re taking a step in a different direction in the winter months to go with Dickens, who has the right message for what Buckhannon is and what we need for our families and for our community.”
The committee is still looking for volunteers to play several key characters throughout the day.
“We still need two Scrooges — we want a daytime Scrooge and nighttime Scrooge — a Ghost of Christmas Present and then the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come,” Westfall said. “Just think, if you want to be Scrooge, you can actually get away with yelling at people all day long, and it’s OK.”