By: Deanna Rebro | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2009
Step back in time to the charming days of Dickens on November 20 and 21 in downtown Claremore.
Claremore pays tribute to Christmas past and ushers in this year’s holiday with everybody’s annual favorite, Dickens on the Boulevard. On November 20 and 21, downtown Claremore will turn back the hands of time to the earliest days of the city’s history.
This traditional event, downtown Claremore’s official kickoff to the holiday season, features a Victorian celebration true to the era when the now-renovated historic buildings were celebrating their grand openings. “This is a great experience for the whole family,” says Cindy Bissett, executive director of Claremore Main Street. “Everyone can learn something about Claremore’s heritage and have fun together.”
Each year visitors come from far away to take in the colorful sidewalk scenes, straight out of a Dickens novel, and the authentic Victorian costumes. Prizes will be awarded each night for the best-dressed couples, individuals, boys and girls.
Some of the foods that Dickens characters may have eaten will be on the menu in the Victorian food court. Enjoy cornbread and beans, stew and sarsaparilla.
The upper floors tour provides an opportunity to learn the role that historic buildings played in shaping Claremore’s history.
An artisans' village will feature period-appropriate tradesmen demonstrating their trades on site. Blacksmiths, basket makers, weavers, glass blowers, wood carvers, candle makers and others will display their skills and offer their creations for sale.
The Territorial Marshals will be back with an expanded performance. This historical reenactment group has been known to play card games that are interrupted by a “bank robbery.” But there’s no need to worry – everyone will be safely entertained.
Other old favorites include wagon rides, photos with Santa, and ghost stories. The Victorian Street Dance begins at 8 p.m. each night and will include the waltz and Virginia Reel. "Yes, they will teach you the steps," says Cindy. Members of Get Fit Claremore, a community fitness program, can use the dance for points.
Many of the downtown stores will remain open until 10 both nights to host their Christmas open houses. Victorian characters in the display windows will welcome shoppers in.
The renovated historic buildings are home to a wide variety of tenants, including antique malls, restaurants, clothing consignment shops, bookstores and stores specializing in jewelry, home décor, bicycles, dolls, children’s clothing, picture frames, flowers and equine accessories.
Participating stores will offer entries in a Dickens Dollars Giveway. Three prizes, to be used as cash in the stores, will be awarded each night.
At 6 p.m., the popular upper floor tours will begin in a select group of downtown buildings. Historical characters will provide factual and colorful details of the role each building played in shaping Claremore’s early history. The doctors, lawyers, merchants and innkeepers, all portrayed by local volunteers, will tell stories of what they did and how they did it. One group, however – the “bawdy” ladies – probably won’t share as much information.
Cost of the two-hour guided tour is $3 per person if registered by Thursday, November 19. Cost is $5 if registered the day of. Space is limited! Flashlights are provided.
Dickens on the Boulevard is presented by Claremore Main Street, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Claremore’s historic downtown district. For more information, call Cindy Bissett at (918) 341-5881.
Deanna Rebro has worked in the publishing industry 30+ years, including eight years writing for Value News. She has also worked in real estate for the past six years. Deanna graduated from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio with a B.A. in Journalism. Outside of work, she serves as Vice President on the Board of Directors for Pet Adoption League. “Every story I write is a learning experience,” she said.