It Takes Chestertown to Make It Amazing


Fleas flew. The streets were on fire and the Dickens Welcome Center hosted hundreds of visitors and a mind-reading dog. “Snow and Victorian vignettes magically appeared in town windows. A tree “grew” in Hebe’s fountain, sparkling with little points of light and providing a warm glow in the heart of Fountain Park.

Gallons of hot chocolate and 600 bags of cookies disappeared. For 2 days the clip-clop of horse carriages reigned over motorcars. Queen Victoria, Jacob Marley and Ebenezer were reincarnated for the weekend—they looked surprisingly hale. Church bells and a bell ringing Town Crier punctuated the air. Bobbies chased urchins through downtown streets and alleys, and images from a Victorian Magic Lantern filled the Garfield. Tents were erected, decorated and then poof! were off to another event leaving only traces of burlap and the faint echoes of kilt-clad American Rogues’ drums and bagpipes.

Holiday homes were on display; their holiday décor eliciting oohs and aahs from a record number of attendees. The High Tea offered tea, sweets and savories of course, but also the sweet sounds of holiday music in the gracious surroundings of the Hynson Ringgold House.  A tea-leaf reader offered prognostications about the future. Amazingly, everyone had a bright and happy year ahead!

Over 20 costumed vendors sold their wares in London Row, while food purveyors offered fish and chips, oysters, Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and hand pies (to name just a few), downed by quaffs of beer and mulled wine. Stilt walkers wandered grandly through the crowds teasing and delighting all ages from their lofty perches.

Mother Nature looked kindly on Chestertown; the weather was sunny, crisp and cold, encouraging high-spirited salutations from costumed passersby. And costumed they were: over 150 residents donned the vintage costumes that might normally appear on local stages, but for our weekend, took center stage outside. Organizers had gathered, sorted and labeled carloads of Victorian-style clothing from area theaters and rental services to loan out to volunteers and vendors.

There were street closures, broken restrooms, and some frozen musicians and vendors. But, despite the cold and the plumbing and parking glitches, most everyone was able to say “God bless us everyone!” And mean it.

Thank you to all who made this Dickens of a Christmas a success and who put smiles on so many faces. Many dedicated volunteers worked long hours to make it all look easy. We welcome new volunteers who want to help make the 2019 event a grand success. If you can help, email to


Letters to Editor

  1. Lorraine Polvinale says

    Thank you, Chestertown, for an outstanding Dickens Weekend. We can’t wait to come back next year!

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