HOLLY — Billed as the oldest, longest running Dickens Festival in the United States — 2017 marks the 44th. year of the Holly Dickens Festival — a holiday favorite which continues to bring enjoyment to all ages.
Continuing momentum after remarkably strong 2014 revival and spectacular 2015 and 2016, festival organizers state they are well on their way to continue as one of the premier holiday events in the mid-Michigan area.
Historic downtown Holly sets the stage for the festivities, which span three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Events kick off Saturday, Nov. 25, with several overlapping, Santa-themed events, including a children’s parade led by ‘Queen Victoria’ in Santa’s Village, Santa in his village for visits and, on the Oh! Christmas Tree stage, the Holly Youth Theater Christmas Elves sing some favorite tunes.
The main parade of lights occurs at 7:30 p.m., immediately followed by a traditional Tree Lighting Ceremony downtown. A map to navigate the various activities is available at: hollydickensfestival.org/festival map.html.
Another event to look forward to include Santa’s Inspirations Workshop, where you can craft your own unique, personalized gifts at Inspirations Arts & Crafts Workshop (call 810-610-6403 to pre-register).
There will be a Hospitality Tent, open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., where hosts can direct you to other events such as the Detroit Model Railroad Club open house, Hadley House Museum – where you can celebrate the official Dickens Tea – and horse-drawn carriage rides, children’s story time, and much more.
Other highlights feature the Holly High School Theater Department presenting “Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol”, Doc Pawlaczyk’s Magical, Storytelling, Outrageous show, vintage photo opportunities, caroling, snowball toss and other games, and the Dickens Daily newspaper.
Festival fan Gene Walworth, stated he feels everyone should take a break from the rushed world and step back in time when things were slower, faces were friendlier and a hand shake meant “I’m glad to see you.”
“As soon as you open the door it hits you, that smell of burning wood and chestnuts roasting, horse drawn carriages and Ebenezer Scrooge ranting on the uselessness of children,” he described.
“Let a pesky street urchin beg you for his two pence, and take you by the hand and lead you around. You can enjoy the laughter of children from the sledding hill and meet a stranger with an old English accent as he reached out to shake your hand,” Walworth added.
The schedule for the entire season is Saturday, Nov. 25, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 26, from noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 3, from noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 10, from noon to 5 p.m.