Disclosure: I was given “backstage” access to the Dickens Village during a press trip to Ohio, sponsored by the Ohio State Parks Lodges. I haven’t attended the actual event yet but given what I saw then, I certainly intend to!
My daughter and I are HUGE fans of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In fact, I think that is what I’ll miss most this Christmas with her away in the UK – us snuggling in and watching every conceivable version of A Christmas Carol on TV (except the one by Disney – that one is terrifying!). Our favourite is The Muppets Christmas Carol, because well…..Muppets! So, I was pretty excited to hear about a special event that takes place every holiday season in Cambridge, Ohio known as the Dickens Victorian Village.
What is Dickens Village? Well a local Cambridge businessman and artist, Bob Ley came up with the idea of creating a Victorian Christmas village throughout the downtown area of the city. He put together a vision for the event, sketched out every scene, and got together some local volunteers to help. In 2006, the Dickens Victorian Village came to fruition.
Mannequins dressed in period clothing are placed around town to tell the story of what the holidays would have been like back in Dickens’ time. Volunteers build and clothe the mannequins and members of the Eastern Ohio Art Guild sculpt and paint each head and face.
I have to say, that when I was there, I got to see some of the volunteers who were there working on repairing and touching up the mannequins and displays to get them ready for the holiday season. It was truly heart-warming to see the way the town showed such pride in their city and came together to work on this project.
A brochure is available at various retailers and hotels in the Cambridge area, providing a self-guided walking tour of the 92 Dickens scenes in the Victorian Village along Wheeling Avenue from 6th to 11th Streets, downtown.
But wait….there’s more! The 1881 Guernsey County Courthouse gets in on the action too as it is lit up each night with 30,000 lights, set in time to holiday music. Be sure to also check out the Dickens Welcome Center and Curiosity Shop. Volunteers in costume manning the center will share the history of the Dickens Victorian Village with you and Dickens and holiday themed items are for sale. Tea is served in the Victorian Tea Room every Saturday – reservations required. You can even take a horse drawn carriage around the village. Check out their fun themed weekends with such themes as Downton Abbey and Queen Victoria.
This event has begun for the season and lasts until January 3, 2015. The Courthouse light and music show takes place every night from 5:30-9 pm, until 11 pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Carriage rides available from 5-10 pm Fridays and Saturdays as well as Nov. 27th 5-10 pm, Nov. 30th 5-9 pm, Dec. 28th 5-9 pm. Carriage rides are $10 for adults and $8 for children. For more information about the Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio, check out their website here. Cambridge is about a 2 hour drive south of Cleveland.