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A Dickens Holiday 2016

Wick Smith
Wick Smith

A Family Tradition Continues

Presented by the Arts Council with the Downtown Alliance.

On Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 from 1 to 9 p.m., Historic Downtown Fayetteville was transformed into a unique and wonderful experience.

Horse-drawn carriages roll down Hay Street carrying shoppers the old-fashioned way, past merchants’ windows adorned with beautiful Victorian holiday decorations, past artisans and vendors of all sorts of delightful treats. Joyful children pose with Father Christmas for memory-laden pictures. The smells of cider and gingerbread permeate the chilly air. And there is Ebenezer Scrooge himself, pursued by the ghost of Jacob Marley.

As darkness approaches and the clock reaches 5 p.m., townspeople gather in front of the Arts Council for the candlelight procession to the Market House, followed by fireworks. After the fireworks, the festivities continued until 9 p.m.

Historical Tributes – Programming expanded beyond Scrooge, Marley and other characters from “A Christmas Carol.” Local singers, led by Arts Council Board member Rangel McLaurin, presented special music in tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers of the 1800s who entertained Queen Victoria.

Annie’s Alehouse – Returning last year was “Annie’s Alehouse,” inside the Arts Council building, modeled on the old Victorian pubs.  Visitors could indulge in beer, wine, and non-alcoholic cider, along with some rousing music. The building was open from 1 to 9 p.m.

Gingerbread Community of Hope – Fayetteville Area Habitat for Humanity, along with H&H Homes, presented a Community of Hope – in the form of gingerbread! People from the community are invited to create buildings to be displayed at SkyView during A Dickens Holiday.

Find out how to dress, Dickens style.

We have some of the best volunteers around!

Volunteers are needed to assist with set up/break down, cider and gingerbread, candle distribution, Father Christmas photos, vendor load and more.  Individuals, groups and families are welcome to volunteer for a few hours or help out all day.

Oh, did we mention you can volunteer while dressed in Victorian style? 

If you’re interested in volunteering for this year’s festival, click here to download a volunteer application or e-mail

To request a Victorian vendor application for 2016, e-mail

Click here for an entry form for the Gingerbread Community of Hope!

Want to get involved? You can sign up to volunteer by e-mailing


Go behind the scenes of “A Dickens Holiday” with our local “Scrooge”, George Quigley!

Preserve a lifetime memory with a picture of you and your loved ones with Father Christmas and an authentic Victorian sleigh at the Arts Council building (301 Hay St.).  $6 per print (or $15 for 3 prints).  1-8:30 p.m. 

Amazing holiday performances of magic and music, along with an exhibition inside the Arts Council, which is transformed into “Annie’s Alehouse.” 1-9 p.m.

Dickens Carriage Rides – 1-9 p.m. Enjoy the sights and sounds of a Dickens downtown on a big decorated horse-drawn hitch wagon.  Only $10 for adults, $5 for children.  Tickets on sale at 222 Hay St. beginning at noon on the day of the event.  Come early – they sell out fast!

Queen Victoria Carriage Rides 1-9 p.m. Enjoy a longer, more personal carriage tour from the Fayetteville Area Transportation Museum (325 Franklin St.).  $15 per person.  Advance ticket purchase strongly recommended by calling (910) 678-8899. 

This Victorian Life display on 2nd floor of the Market House from 1-9 p.m., sponsored by the Fayetteville Area Transportation & Local History Museum. Literature, military items, a Victorian Christmas tree and other artifacts show how the Victorians celebrated the holidays. An interactive display allows visitors to identify household items from Victorian times that are no longer in general use.

Candlelight Procession Gather in front, or to the side, of the Arts Council for the 5:30 p.m. candlelight procession to the Market House. Pick up a free candle at selected merchants, or in front of the Arts Council building (while supplies last). Join thousands of townspeople for Fayetteville’s largest candlelight procession to the Market House, followed by fireworks! Stay for a full night of fun after kicking off the holiday season with a traditional fireworks display.  Carriage rides, crafts, holiday shopping and more continue until 9 p.m.

Other Holiday Happenings: Create a Victorian ornament to take home or hang on the community tree from 1 to dusk at Fascinate-U Children’s Museum ($1 admission per person).  Enjoy TubaChristmas in the sanctuary at Hay Street United Methodist Church at 4 p.m.  Take a free tour of the 1897 Poe House, decorated in Victorian style, at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex from 10 to 4 p.m.

You can become a part of A Dickens Holiday by strolling the streets as a Victorian lady or gentleman with an easy-to-make costume. Just click here for quick notes on costuming.