Narberth, PA -- One only has to see the pictures from yesterday’s Narberth Dickens Festival. Can there be such a thing as too much fun?
“I wouldn’t miss this Festival for money,” said Miles Austin a Canadian visitor in for the event.
Did the rain put a damper on the festival? Nope, only English mist was on hand and it came and went rather quickly. The children who showed up for the Christmas fun that the annual event is renowned for? Well, they didn’t even notice the weather.
A thousand or so townsfolk and neighbors lived a mainline classic tradition that included characters from Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol.’ The tiny borough was transformed into 1840’s London. The dreary weather only extended the characteristics of London. Narberth’s small-town charm was bolstered by the citizens wearing extensive period attire and costumes and acting their parts.
Besides the amazing costumes on display and many actors in full Dickensian character, there was so much fun for everyone. A full schedule of activities packed the day with old English street dancing, puppet shows, caroling, carriage rides, music and scavenger hunts. Many locals — and some not so local visitors — milled about watching vendors preparing and serving foods from the 1840 era while adorned in the finery of that time, eating foods and drinking hot toddies, with or without spirits.
Walking through the delighted crowd you could run into a “spirit” clanging chains or maybe find Tiny Tim during a scavenger hunt. At the scavenger tent, George Lonsdorf declared that he was the “Master of the Scavengers.”
I settled in Narberth “because of its charm and proximity to “everywhere” with the trains,” said Carlyn Nelson, who was attending her first Dickens Festival.
Nelson pictured at the money exchange only moved to Narberth in September. She moved from Washington DC to live closer to family. She settled in Narberth “because of its charm and proximity to ‘everywhere’ with the trains,” she said.
She fell in love with the small town charm — which was embodied by this festival.
So how did she become a volunteer coordinator for the festival? She went to a meeting after moving in just to meet people and it was an instant success. She met 5 new people at the meeting and now has 45 fairly close contacts in town — including some of her really good friends!
“You can’t do that in a city like Washington,” she explained.
Miles Austin of Toronto has been to the last four festivals. He got started with it when he was in Philadelphia meeting with old school friends. They then suggested that he “head out to the Narb for the Dickens event.”
Austin, a Corporate VP in the metals industry, has been hooked ever since. He and his friends have made the Dickens Festival in Narberth the cornerstone of their annual friend’s reunion.
“Now each year I stay in the City and work our reunion around the timing of the Dickens event,” he explained. “I get to Narberth, head to the Irish place and I think I have gone back in time. “Next year I will be married and my wife will just love this place,” said Austin.
For me, and TAPinto it was our first Dickens Festival covering the town and its traditions. And I had so much fun meeting everyone and joining in with the holiday cheer.