The 5th Annual Dickens of a Christmas is back on December 2-3, 2022! Join us for even more Victorian events and fun as popular favorites return after a Covid hiatus and new events debut. “Dickens of a Christmas” is a festival inspired by Charles Dickens’s beloved novella A Christmas Carol.
Set in the Historic District, the festival celebrates the season with live music, carriage rides, Victorian food and drink, costumed characters, entertainment and more. Dickens of a Christmas is hosted by Main Street Chestertown and all proceeds further Main Street’s work to make downtown Chestertown a vibrant community.
INCLEMENT WEATHER NOTE: Due to some anticipated weather on Saturday morning, the following schedule changes have been made:
Beers & bonfires
Beverages, Food Vendors, Fire Pits & Main Stage Entertainment! Food vendors for the weekend include: Happy Chicken, Waterman’s Wife, Mornin’ Noon & Nite, Blue Monkey Tacos, BBQ Bueno, and baked goods by Keisha. Beverages will include a selection of domestic and craft beers, hard cider, wine, mulled wine, hot cider, and more. Located on the 200 block of High Street. This event is sponsored by Chesapeake Bank & Trust.
Carriage Rides through historic downtown. Timed tickets will be available at Fountain Park starting December 2. Tour historic downtown as you’ve never seen it before from the back of a vintage horse-drawn carriage. Tips benefits KART (Kent Association of Riding Therapy), which helps children and adults with special needs enhance their social and developmental growth. Located at Fountain Park. This event is sponsored by Cross Street Realtors.
Run Like the Dickens 5K!
Run Like the Dickens 5K! Run through Chestertown on a unique route through town. A children’s fun run will immediately preceed the 5K Walk/Run. Check-in/Registration at 211 High Street. Sign up here.
Bedlam Bed Race
Teams of five will compete for bragging rights and prizes! Put your bed on wheels and travel UP High Street to the finish line from the waterfront! Winners will be the first to cross the finish line and a winner for best theme/decor/creativity! This event is sponsored by Brampton Inn.
Santa will be in his house! Santa will visit with children and hear all of their Christmas wishes. Located in Fountain Park. This event is sponsored by Stam’s Luncheonette.
There are even activities for Tiny Tim! Free pony rides and petting zoo with even more adorable animals return to Stepne Station, while a flea circus, caroling, pictures with Santa and more children’s activities enliven High Street. All activities during the Dickens Festival are family-friendly. Located at Stepne Station and High Street. This event is sponsored by KRM Development/Brittland Estates.
In 1851, Elizabeth Parker, a free black child in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was bound and gagged, snatched from a local farm, and hurried off to a Baltimore slave pen. Two weeks later, her teenage sister, Rachel, was abducted from another Chester County farm. Because slave catchers could take fugitive slaves and free blacks across state lines to be sold, the border country of Pennsylvania/Maryland had become a dangerous place for most black people.
In The Parker Sisters, Lucy Maddox gives an eloquent, urgent account of the tragic kidnapping of these young women. Using archival news and courtroom reports, Maddox tells the larger story of the disastrous effect of the Fugitive Slave Act on the small farming communities of Chester County and the significant, widening consequences for the state and the nation.
The Parker Sisters is also a story about families whose lives and fates were deeply embedded in both the daily rounds of their community and the madness and violence consuming all of antebellum America. Maddox’s account of this horrific and startling crime reveals the strength and vulnerability of the Parker sisters and the African American population. Location: Zelda’s Speakeasy. This event is hosted by the Bookplate.
Holiday House Tour
The Holiday House Tour is back! Stroll iconic Water Street on the Chester River where our historic tour homes bring the gracious living of bygone days into the 21st century. Tickets available at the Bank at 211 High Street.
Join local food vendors for some delicious victuals. Food trucks and vendors will be serving a fancy feast. Food vendors for the weekend include: Happy Chicken, Waterman’s Wife, Mornin’ Noon & Nite, Blue Monkey Tacos, BBQ Bueno, and baked goods by Keisha. Located on Memorial Row. This event is sponsored by David A. Bramble, Inc.
Beverage Tent Open selling non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Sip on your favorites of craft beers and ciders, mulled wine, and more. Located on the 200 block of High Street. This event is sponsored by Gillespie & Son.
London Row artisan vendors are back with homemade goods just in time for your holiday shopping. This year, visit vendors in the Bank. All vendor spots have been filled for 2022.
Immortalize yourself or a loved one with a Victorian-style traditional silhouette, freehand-scissored in just a few moments by internationally-renown silhouette artist Lauren Muney of “Silhouettes By Hand”! Timed tickets will be available on December 3 on a first-come basis at the Bank. This event is sponsored by the Arts & Entertainment District.
Main Stage Entertainment
Entertainment on Main Stage! Check out the sidebar to view our Main Stage schedule for performances and more. This event is sponsored by a grant from the Kent Cultural Alliance.
Carriage Rides through historic downtown. Timed tickets will be available at Fountain Park starting December 3. Tour historic downtown as you’ve never seen it before from the back of a vintage horse-drawn carriage. Tips benefits KART (Kent Association of Riding Therapy), which helps children and adults with special needs enhance their social and developmental growth. Located at Fountain Park. This event is sponsored by Cross Street Realtors.
Holiday Tea, Seating 1. The Holiday Tea has returned with scrumptious treats and teas. This year’s Tea is graciously hosted by Ms. Shelia Austrian. SOLD OUT!
Conceived nearly a century ago by a man who died believing himself a failure, The Great Gatsby is now a revered classic and a rite of passage in the reading lives of millions. But how well do we really know The Great Gatsby? As Maureen Corrigan, Gatsby lover extraordinaire, points out, while Fitzgerald’s masterpiece may be one of the most popular novels in America, many of us first read it when we were too young to fully comprehend its power.
Offering a fresh perspective on what makes Gatsby great — and utterly unusual — So We Read On takes us into archives, high school classrooms, and even out onto the Long Island Sound to explore the novel’s hidden depths, a journey whose revelations include Gatsby ‘s surprising debt to hard-boiled crime fiction, its rocky path to recognition as a “classic,” and its profound commentaries on the national themes of race, class, and gender. Location: Zelda’s Speakeasy. This event is hosted by the Bookplate.
Holiday Tea, Seating 2. The Holiday Tea has returned with scrumptious treats and teas. This year’s Tea is graciously hosted by Ms. Shelia Austrian. SOLD OUT!
Unfortunately, the Victorian Dinners have been cancelled. For questions, please contact Modern Stone Age Kitchen at 410-996-4776.
Opening Ceremonies with Victorian dignitaries
Kent County High School Jazz Band & Garnet Elementary School Chorus and Bucket Band
River Voices of Chester River Chorale
The American Rogues
The American Rogues
Announcement of Bedlam Bed Race and Keith Leaf, Fire Juggler
The American Rogues
Don’t miss our featured act The American Rogues. This high-energy Canadian/American group has electrified audiences on three continents for years. They are known for their epic, multi-instrumental sound that crosses the musical landscape to include jigs, reels, hornpipes, ballads, originals, covers, soundtracks, patriotic and military music, Irish foot-stompers and more.
So that Chestertown can offer our visitors an authentic Dickens experience, we encourage our event participants and vendors to dress the part of a typical resident of Victorian London.
Your funding helps showcase our historic town, build community spirit, boost the local economy and provides fun for people of all ages and incomes!
We are always looking for volunteers to assist with Dickens of a Christmas! Fill out the form below to be contacted for volunteer opportunities.
The only way Dickens of a Christmas is possible is through the generosity of our sponsors. Several sponsorship opportunities are available. Click here for more information or email us at email@example.com!
The Center for Advanced Orthopedics & Chestertown Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Ye Old Towne Bocce League