Up & Coming Weekly

November 14, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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12 UCW November 15-21, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM COVER A Dickens Holiday to remember, Nov. 24 by SAM OLSEN 'Twas the day after anksgiving, when all through downtown; every- body was whirling, through yonder round- about. Decorations hung by the streetlights with cheer, getting ready for Dickens Holiday that year. e people were dressed up in Victorian attire; with visions of hope- fully not getting a flat tire. For the last twenty- three years, A Dickens Holiday has been a yearly event for the people of Fayetteville. Every year on the day after anks- giving, our historic downtown becomes abuzz with the sounds of canes clacking on concrete, town crier bells and Victorian era British accents. Being a celebra- tion of A Christmas Carol, the spirit of the holiday, and lo- cal business, the Dickens festival is an annual tradi- tion in the town that aims at connecting the local commu- nity through good cheer and festivities. is year, Up & Coming Weekly was able to catch up with Dr. Hank Parfitt, a founder of A Dickens Holiday, about this year's upcoming cel- ebration. Speaking candidly, Parfitt was able to express those visions of sugar plums and holiday cheer that we all hope to look forward to every Christmas season. With topics such as the future of the Dickens Holiday, ways to get the next generation involved, and the meaning behind A Christmas Carol, Parfitt shared with U&CW his views and history with A Dick- ens Holiday as well as his Christ- mas spirit. A Dickens Holiday is a lo- cal event that takes place every year in Fayetteville the day after anksgiving as a pseudo-Christ- mas celebration for the town. e theme and aesthetics of the festival are based on the Charles Dickens novel, A Christmas Carol. Each year, people throughout the town dress up in era-appro- priate attire, self-made costumes, and as characters from the book or movie to go around downtown Fayetteville and spread good tidings and cheer to those who choose to celebrate with them. Many of the local shops take part in the event as well. While the size and scale of the event has fluctuated, the crowd has remained, and year after year the people around town continue to come out in support of A Dickens Holiday and each other. is idea of Christmas cheer and communal support isn't merely fiction, though. Parfitt spoke about how he felt the event gave people the opportunity to get to know one another and share in the spirit of the holiday. But what does that mean, ex- actly? Charles Dickens had what some believe to be a clear vision of the spirit of the holidays. "It's about a man who rediscov- ers his humanity," said Parfitt. "Charles Dickens was trying to show people that we need to treat each other with kindness and re- spect. ere really is this magical feeling of Dickens. When we're down here on A Dickens Holiday we really feel like a community." Having caught the Christmas itch, U&CW dove deeper in to the origin of A Dickens Holiday to find out how and where exactly it was started. Finding that the first ever Dickens holiday took place in Broadstairs, England, U&CW was surprised to find that A Dickens Holiday is not just a single event our city puts on. A Dickens Holiday is an in- ternational event that happens independently from one another all over the world. Indeed, each year, at different places across the globe, towns, local communities, and other cities are putting on their own versions of the Dickens festival to celebrate together and spread the Christmas spirit, if only just for the holiday season. In a way, when we celebrate e Cumberland County community poses for a photo during the candlelight lighting at A Dickens Holiday, Nov. 25, 2022, at the Fayetteville History Museum. A Dickens Holiday 2023 will also feature a candle lighting in addition to vendors, A Christmas Carol characters and Father Christmas. (Photos courtesy of Hank Parfitt.)

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