Scrooge, Marley and all the familiar faces from Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, will return to Tuscumbia on December 13-14 to join merchants and townspeople in presenting the signature Christmas festival “It’s a Dickens Christmas, Y’all.” In its ninth year, the event adds a festive touch to the season and brings a hint of “Merry Ole England” to this historic Alabama town. Costumed characters will stroll the streets on Saturday, December 14, when most of the activity takes place.
The Dickens Feast kicks off festivities at 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening, December 13. An English Christmas dinner with a Southern twist will be catered by Red Clay Catering, in the Roundhouse at the Tuscumbia Railway Depot, 204 West Fifth Street. Entertainment will feature a Christmas chorale by madrigal singers of Deshler High School. Advance tickets are required for the feast and may be purchased for $25 at Fiddledee D!,111 South Main Street, Tuscumbia, AL. 35674 (Telephone: 256-383-9797). Dickens-era attire is invited but not required.
Saturday’s schedule then pulls out all the stops! This downtown experience, with carolers and costumed Victorian characters (10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.), is free. Expect to find snow falling on Main Street and to visit with Santa Claus and his English counterpart, “Father Christmas.” The Clydesdale horses, Clyde and Pride, will return to give carriage rides and Patton Guillen, the “Magic City Magician”, will be back to perform his street magic. 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, vocalists, and choral and dance groups.
“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, designed by make-up artist Amanda Chapman, 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, arranged by cultural ambassador Ronald Rand, “A Holiday High Tea” at First Baptist Church (for which advance tickets are required) or Trolley Tours through the historic district. Events appealing to the younger set include: gingerbread doughnut decorating organized by Monkey’s Dough and Milk and Cookies with Tiny Tim at Cold Water Books, which includes a reading of A Christmas Carol.
According to Sherry Campbell, chair of the event, “We’re always coming up with new ideas to add to the Dickens Christmas fun. Dress your canine companions in their Christmas or Dickens-inspired dog wear and bring them to Strut Your Mutt, for the parade of pooches at 12:30 p.m. in the pocket park on Main Street. Prizes will be awarded for best dressed Dickens Doggie. To participate, bring a bag of dog food to donate to the Colbert Humane Shelter.” Afterwards, enjoy a slice of Birthday Cake to celebrate Alabama’s Bicentennial (free and all are invited!)
Dickens Christmas is sponsored by Tuscumbia Retail Development, a volunteer group dedicated to building the business community in the town with promotions and public events. TRD is indebted to many generous sponsors and the “Friends of the Fezziwigs,” who make this family-friendly holiday event possible. Signage will credit these donors.
For more information and the complete schedule: 2019 It’s a Dickens Christmas,Y’all or 2019 Dickens Feast (both on Facebook) or call TRD / Fiddledee D! at 256-383-9797.