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A Dickens of a Christmas and Other Holiday Happenings

Dickens Christmas Finallogo

A Feast of Holiday Activities Abound in Kent County, MD

It’s always the best of times at Dickens of a Christmas! This year’s Victorian Holiday Extravaganza will once again take place in downtown Chestertown, Maryland, from Dec. 6-8, 2019. The holiday happenings also include another terrific lineup of activities planned. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, this weekend will be as good as gold, or better.

You’ll also want to keep the muffs and mittens handy because Santa will making an appearance in Rock Hall. Join Mrs. Claus and the Kent County Community Marching Band as they welcome Old Saint Nick at the harbor where he’ll be arriving by boat! Follow the procession as Santa mixes and mingles…and the band plays jingles…to light the Crab Basket Christmas Tree.

Dickens Holiday House tourDickens Holiday House Tour

Founded in 1706, Chestertown is an ode to the past in many ways. The historic district hasn’t changed much in the 300 years, which is what makes it the perfect backdrop for Dickens of a Christmas. And one of the most beloved weekend traditions is the Dickens Holiday House Tour.

Eight homeowners beckon you to come in and tour their lavish homes Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Each façade is a reflection of the era, with some dating back to the 1700s and 1800s. You’ll also see the distinctive personality of the current residents, as well as touches that echo the beloved Eastern Shore.

Afternoon Tea

This weekend wouldn’t be a nod to our British friends without a lavish Afternoon Tea. More gravy than grave, Afternoon Tea is a favorite activity for residents and visitors.

Warm up inside the gorgeous Hynson Ringgold House, the riverfront home where George Washington slept and dined. Music, fine teas and a menu of sweet and savory treats served in an elegant setting? Now, that’s something we’ll raise our pinkies to!

Holiday Shoppes and London Row

Mankind may have been Jacob Marley’s business, but Chestertown is all about the merriment, which includes the unique finds you’ll discover at the holiday shoppes and London Row. The historic downtown storefronts are extraordinary during the holiday season when they’re adorned with garland, lights and Victorian regalia. Stroll down the brick cobbled sidewalks to experience it.

In addition to the dozens of popular local businesses that make up the nationally recognized Main Street district, the new addition, London Row, will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. London Row is a cluster of outdoor vendors showcasing Victorian and handcrafted gifts where you can pick up something to warm the heart of the Scrooge in your life, or perhaps a treat for yourself.

Dickens fire dancer Jodi Bortz 2019 11Beers & Bonfires Celebration

Saturday’s festivities close out with a bang at the Beers & Bonfires Celebration and street party. By the end of the evening, you’ll feel light as a feather and happy as an angel as you raise a pint with your fellow friends.

Craft beer will flow, Celtic band, The American Rogues, will play and Pyroxotic fire dancers will mesmerize the crowd. The kids are invited, too, and they’ll have activities to keep them entertained. Ye Olde Foode Trucks and Chester River Packet will also be on hand with delicious holiday fare.

Live Music

Do you hear those tunes? It sounds like a good time! Music will fill the air from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, making the setting merrier. From Victorian classics to the electrically charged music of The American Rogues, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any humbug.

The Dickens of a Christmas main music tent lineup features Harp & Soul, Black Rhinoceros, River Voices and The American Rogues. Music in London Row stars none other than Noon Friends in Faith, Fredy Granillo and Todd Bauchspies. And the Beers & Bonfires finale brings back The American Rogues for one last curtain call.

Another opportunity to enjoy music as it fills the air is “Let It Snow!”, a free concert by the Eastern Shore Wind Ensemble performing “Winter Rhapsody” and “On a Snowy Winter’s Eve” at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Dec. 15.

If you missed an opportunity or if your appetite was whetted at the live performance earlier in the month, you can have another chance to enjoy Harp & Soul, with Meredith Hadaway and Friends, also on Dec. 15, at The Mainstay in Rock Hall.

Run Like the Dickens 5K

Lace up your shoes and walk or run through the charming streets of downtown Chestertown during the Run Like the Dickens 5K. Held rain or shine on the morning of Sunday, Dec.8, this annual tradition benefits the local food pantry. Victorian-themed food and entertainment will keep you moving and in the holiday spirit. Kids 10 and under can participate in the free Dickens Kids Dash before the race.

Dickens Bloomers Bustles fashion show logoBloomers, Bustles & Brunch

There is nothing in the world as contagious as laughter and good humor—except possibly brunch. Who doesn’t love brunch?

Bloomers, Bustles & Brunch is the perfect way to spend your Sunday afternoon and have the opportunity to ask all your burning questions about Victorian garb. Held at The Bank, a historical landmark in Chestertown, this amusing event will serve up finger foods, Champagne and a “reverse strip.” That’s right, 13 local models will don ball gowns and daywear before your eyes as Marilee Orr, an expert in Victorian attire, provides commentary.

Frederick Douglass on Stage

The past, present and future all merge when actor and playwright Phil Darius Wallace takes the stage to embody the Victorian era’s most accomplished orator and effective advocate for abolition, Frederick Douglass. In his one-man show, “Self-Made Man: The Frederick Douglass Story,” Wallace will spellbind audiences with his portrayal of one of the nation’s greatest champions for justice, as well as a dozen other characters who shaped Douglass’ life.

Three free performances will be held Saturday, 10am and two in the afternoon – 1pm and 3pm, but seating is limited. All shows are expected to sell out.

Children’s Activities

Who better to honor Christmas in their hearts, and keep it all year long, but children? Dickens of a Christmas is a family affair, and there will be a host of children’s activities to keep your kids active and engaged throughout the weekend.

On Friday, Dec. 6, head out to High Street to join the Organ Grinder, Phydeaux’s Flying Circus, Kaleidoscope Children’s Art Studio Kids Night Out, carriage rides and champion ice carving where Scrooge will emerge from ice. On Saturday, Dec. 7, have the kids skip the morning cartoons and take them to KidSpot to make paper ornaments, luminaries and thaumatropes. After that, they can take photo with Santa before playing games in front of the courthouse or catching a carriage ride.

The merriment around town continues on Dec. 11, with building and decorating gingerbread houses at the Rock Hall Branch of the public library. Let the little ones construct playful houses with gumdrops and candy canes as you watch on; or join in the fun as well.

Spirited Performances

For those looking to enjoy a more traditional holiday venue, consider a show at one of Kent County’s Theaters. Chestertown’s Garfield Center for the Arts goes sci-fi and presents “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” on Dec. 20, while The Mainstay in Rock Hall offers holiday music performances throughout the month of December.

Fireworks Duffy CreekRinging in the New Year

As the holidays wind down and the new year approaches, you may find staying up until midnight to ring in 2020 too exhausting. If so, try the Happy Noon Year’s Eve Celebration for early birds. The family-friendly celebration begins at 11 a.m. with crafts and snacks and ends with a countdown to noon time. Nothing wrong with calling it an early night!

But if you are looking forward to toasting in the New Year with family, and a few new friends, join the celebration at The Mainstay for New Year’s Eve Potluck! You are encouraged to bring a covered dish to share as you are serenaded by a local favorite.

The celebration doesn’t have to end on New Year’s Eve. Join in the fun and help The Mainstay as they kick of their 25th year of Musical Magic for a New Year’s Day concert. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy a glass of bubbly from a keepsake glass with The Mainstay logo as well as hors d’oeuvres and a meet & greet with the featured artist.

There is something for everyone during the holiday season in Kent County!


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