Scrooge, Marley and all the familiar faces from Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, will return to Tuscumbia the second Saturday in December to join merchants and townspeople in presenting the signature Christmas festival “It’s a Dickens Christmas, Y’all.” The annual event adds a festive touch to the season and brings a hint of “Merry Ole England” to this historic Alabama town.
This downtown experience, with carolers and costumed Victorian characters (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), is free. Expect to find snowfalling on Main Street and strolling costumed characters and to visit with Santa Claus and his English counterpart, “Father Christmas.” The Clydesdale horses, Clyde and Pride, will return to give carriage rides. An outdoor holiday market will be filled with arts and crafts and food vendors, while the shops of Tuscumbia will offer their own holiday specials. Performances throughout the day will be presented by brass ensembles, a bag piper, vocalists, and choral and dance groups.
In his first Shoals area appearance, David Mitchell of Birmingham will greet festival goers as the miserly Mr. Scrooge. Mitchell is recognized throughout the Southeast for his “Scrooge” portrayals. Also appearing for the first time, “The Magic City Magician”, Patton Gillen, will present street performances. This gifted young man has ties to the town of Tuscumbia, where his great-grandparents once owned and operated J&P Jewelers on Main Street.
“Scones and Moans”, a light breakfast of English pastries and tea will be offered during morning hours, when Marley and all the Ghosts of A Christmas Carol will make their first appearances of the day. At another event, youngsters may join Mickey Mouse for “Muffins with Mickey” and a showing of Mickey’s Christmas Carol at the Helen Keller Library. (For reservations call the Library at 256-383-7065.)
Throughout the afternoon, festival goers may enjoy “Poetry and Music” at St. John’s Episcopal Church, “A Holiday High Tea” at the Winston Home at Deshler High School (for which advance tickets are required) or Trolley Tours through the historic district. Events appealing to the younger set include: The Tiny Tim Train Ride, cookie decorating organized by Aunt Bea’s Bakery and Milk and Cookies with Tiny Tim at Cold Water Books, which includes a reading of A Christmas Carol.
At dusk, enjoy a ride through Spring Park to see the illuminations and the dancing waters set to Christmas music, then join friends at Helen Keller Library for a showing of MGM’s 1938 classic movie version of “A Christmas Carol”.
New this year is the “Dickens Dog Walk”. Dress your canine companions in their Christmas or Dickens-inspired dog wear and bring them for the parade of pooches at 12:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for best dressed Dickens Doggie. To participate, bring a bag of dog food to donate to the Colbert Humane Shelter.