11-14-12-dickens.gifA Dicken’s Holiday is something that the community looks forward to each year as much as bargain hunters anticipate Black Friday and foodies long for Thanksgiving Day feasts. This marks the 13th year of this event, and to be sure, there will be plenty opportunities for merriment and memory making.

On the day after Thanksgiving, for more than a decade, A Dicken’s Holiday has transformed downtown Fayetteville into a Victorian-style wonderland. This year, Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, joins the celebration, which lasts from 1-9 p.m.

Dickens has worked as a director and producer for several years. He created his first one-man show in 1993. It was a performance of A Christmas Carol based on readings that Charles Dickens’ regularly performed in the 1860s. Gerald enjoys sharing the works of Charles Dickens with young people and holds workshops and performances in schools and colleges in the Unites States and England.

In celebration of his great-great grandfather’s 200th birthday, Dickens will perform two one-man shows. In the process he will play more than 30 characters. The first show is A Christmas Carol and the second show is Mr. Dickens is Coming! Both plays take place at Hay Street United Methodist Church at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. Both performances are free, but seating is limited.

“As this year is the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, it’s appropriate that we celebrate our 13th annual A Dickens Holiday with actor Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great grandson of author Charles Dickens, as our special guest,” said Mary Kinney, marketing director for the Arts Council Fayetteville/Cumberland County. “What a treat to have him here in Fayetteville — all the way from Oxford, England!”

The day is sure to be packed with fun as Father Christmas will be in attendance, ready to take photos with passersby. Carolers roam the streets and horse-drawn carriages roll through downtown offering a chance to see the local sights from a new perspective. Take a stroll through the many side streets and enjoy the merchants and arts and crafts vendors in Victorian garb.

While gingerbread houses are a tradition in many homes during the holiday season, this year the event organizers have put a spin on the theme. Cumberland County high school students from nine local schools have built London landmarks from gingerbread. Stop by SkyView and vote for your favorite.

“The gingerbread competition brings a whole new dimension to A Dicken’s Holiday,” said Kinney. “It is truly amazing to see what the competitors are capable of.”

A favorite of many, the candlelight procession from the Arts Council to the Market House starts at 5:30 p.m. Dickens will lead the procession, but that is not the end of the celebration. Once the candles are snuffed out, the sky will fill with fireworks to welcome the holiday season.

A Dicken’s Holiday lasts until 9 p.m. Find out more about this event at www.theartscouncil.com or www.fayettevillealliance.com.

Photo: Gerald Dickens, the great-great grandson of author Charles Dickens joins the celebration this year.

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