CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Step back in time and meet Father Christmas, Scrooge and other magical figures of the holiday season as the Dickens Christmas Festival returns to Southern Utah, celebrating 20 years of unique holiday entertainment.
Every year, the Dickens Christmas Festival signals the beginning of the festive season with Victorian theater and a holiday market featuring handcrafted goods and delicious seasonal sweets. Festival director Brittany Dell said the event offers quality merchandise and one-of-a-kind treasures, and it could be the perfect place to find special gifts for the people you love.
“Get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and come enjoy some time with family and friends,” Dell said.
After another successful season in Salt Lake City, the event returns to St. George to delight audiences young and old with timeless Christmas cheer. The festival will take place Dec. 1-4 at the Dixie Convention Center. Exhibits are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day. Admission costs $8 per child, $9 per senior and $10 per adult. Tickets are available to buy online or at the door for $10 each.
The sights and sounds of 19th century London come alive at the Dickens Christmas Festival. Dell said the festival isn’t just another craft show but rather a distinctive and exquisitely crafted entertainment and shopping venue. Olde English shops, hundreds of period costumes, fortune tellers, orphans, royalty and Father Christmas all combine to offer guests a holiday experience like no other.
The festival thoughtfully recreates the crooked streets and winding lanes of Charles Dickens’ London, where so many of America’s holiday traditions originated. Guests will be entertained from the moment they step into Olde London until the time they leave, Dell said. Miniature productions of the musicals based on Dickens’ novels will be performed throughout the day along with puppet shows, street theater and much more.
Dickens Christmas Festival provides young (and older) actors, singers and dancers the opportunity to develop their talents in the various productions. Along with entertainment, the festival hires members of the community looking to earn a bit of extra money for Christmas. Hundreds of vendors spend long hours traveling to St. George to sell their merchandise.
Event organizers carefully select each vendor to ensure a completely unique market experience set during the Victorian Era, Dell said. As you wander the streets of Olde London, you will see salespeople with vintage booths and authentically styled period dresses, hats and trousers. You may even encounter Queen Victoria or Dickens himself. It’s a chance to get out of the house, bring the kids and just relax while being transported back in time.
For Dell, the festival is a beloved family tradition dating back 40 years. Her mother organized the first iteration in 1981, and they’ve kept it going ever since. Today, she gets to share the event with her own kids.
“I just grew up with it,” she said. “Christmas was Dickens time.”
The Dickens Christmas Festival is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping members of the community during times of need. Every year, the event benefits local students and causes around Southern Utah, including Coins for Kids. Most vendors offer children’s gifts and toys at a reduced price to encourage shoppers to participate in the toy drive, Dell said, and some donate extra merchandise.
Just like Dickens’ classic tale “A Christmas Carol” inspires readers to reach out and help others, festival organizers strive to make the holiday season sparkle a bit brighter for underprivileged families.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
• S P O N S O R E D C O N T E N T •
- What: Dickens Christmas Festival.
- When: Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 1-4, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Where: Dixie Convention Center, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George.
- Tickets: $8 per child; $9 per senior; $10 per adult.
- Resources: Website.
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