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A Dickens Holiday 2017

Wick Smith
Wick Smith

A Family Tradition Continues - Presented by the Arts Council with the Downtown Alliance.


On Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, Historic Downtown Fayetteville was again be transformed into a unique and wonderful experience. We rolled back the clock with ­for the 18th annual A Dickens Holiday from 1 to 9 p.m.!

During the event, 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 continue until 9 p.m.

Visitors enjoyed holiday performances by strolling performers throughout Downtown.

Annie’s Alehouse – Returning last year was “Annie’s Alehouse,” inside the Arts Council building, modeled on the old Victorian pubs.  Indulge in beer, wine, and non-alcoholic cider, along with some pub-styled music in the gallery by Brynmor. 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 were invited to create buildings to be displayed at SkyView during A Dickens Holiday. The community could learn how to make their gingerbread house at the "Habitat Gingerbread Workshop" on Thurs., Nov. 9. Click here for an entry form for the Gingerbread Community of Hope!

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.).  1-8:30 p.m. 

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

Dickens Carriage Rides –  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! 1-9 p.m.

Queen Victoria Carriage Rides - 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. 1-9 p.m.

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  - The community gathered in front, or to the side, of the Arts Council for the 5:30 p.m. candlelight procession to the Market House. Free candles could be picked up at selected merchants, or in front of the Arts Council building (while supplies last). Thousands of townspeople joined us for Fayetteville’s largest candlelight procession to the Market House, followed by fireworks! Participants stayed 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.

Virtual Costume Contest - Entering the contest was simple— participants found our roving photographer,  “Marvelous Mauve,” and had their photo taken.  Wearing mauve, she was also at the Rainbow Room from 2-3pm and 4-5pm.

Full Costume Prizes: First prize was a $50 gift card for Blue Moon, a private carriage ride for two during the Carriage Rides with Santa, and the opportunity to go on the balcony of the Market House for the procession.

Second place received a regular carriage ride with Santa and a $50 gift card for the Wing Company.  

Partial Costume Prize: will received a $25 gift certificate at Sweet Palette.

Other Holiday Happenings: Creating a Victorian ornament to take home or hang on the community tree from 1 to dusk at Fascinate-U Children’s Museum ($2 per child, $1 per adult).  Enjoying TubaChristmas in the sanctuary at Hay Street United Methodist Church at 4 p.m.  Taking a free tour of the 1897 Poe House, decorated in Victorian style, at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

You could 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.

Find out how to dress, Dickens style. Learn what it was like to live in Victorian Fayetteville during Victorian Fayetteville Series (2017) held on Thursday, September 14Thursday, October 12  and Thursday, November 02. All three sessions were held at Headquarters Library and began at 6:30 p.m.

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

Vendor applications are now closed.


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