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Holiday Magic: A Victorian Christmas

by Emma Kandel-Krieger,
  • Business owner and co-chair of Holiday Magic: A Dickens’ Christmas, Dennis Littell shows off his Victorian outfit for this years’ festival, which runs from Dec. 9 in downtown Burlington. Photo submitted.

Christmas spirit is not just for children this year. The Burlington Parks and Recreation department is bringing a Victorian-themed Christmas festival to the downtown Burlington area.

From 6 to 9 p.m Dec. 9, Downtown Burlington will be transformed into a scene straight out of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Attendees are encouraged to dress in Victorian finery and children can win prizes for best dressed.

Mary Faucette, special event supervisor within the department, explained that there will be many different forms of entertainment at the festival, including hand bell ringers, carriage rides, mimes, jugglers and stilt walkers. 

This year, carolers will kick off the event with Christmas songs.

"The idea is to have strolling carolers at different spots around the festival," Faucette said. "There could be trios, quartets or even up to an octet." 

There will also be a band performing in the amphitheater.

"Music brings a lot to an event," Faucette said. 

For authenticity, the festival will feature roasting chestnuts and Santa and Mrs. Claus dressed in Victorian attire.

"The streets of downtown Burlington will be filled with the sights, smells and sounds of a Victorian Christmas," said Dennis Littell, Burlington business owner and co-chair of the event.  "(Visitors can) see the characters of 'A Dickens Christmas' come to life, smell the chestnuts roasting and hear the music, street performers and horses clopping through the streets of our Christmas Victorian Village."

The event is a town pastime and encourages people to support local shops. A Dickens' Christmas passport will be given to everyone who attends, and people will receive stamps from the business where they purchase something. The passport will go into a drawing for awards and prizes.

Because Christmas has transformed into a commercial holiday, the Parks and Recreation department wants this year's celebration to have the feel of real Christmas spirit. 

Tyler Johnson, a sophomore from Maryland, said that he has not had the chance to attend the event. 

"Christmas is my all-time favorite holiday," he said. "It's all about the spirit and I definitely plan to attend the festival this year."

In previous years, the festival has drawn a large crowd.

"(The Dickens Christmas) is a big event," said Acorn Coffee Shop employee Karen Hall, "Some vendors would be selling hot chocolate. Sometimes they have performers come sing. It's real festive." 

Kathryn Thompson, another Acorn employee, said that she had heard a lot about the event. 

"I have never been on a carriage ride," she said. "I would love to. It sounds neat."