By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Special Interest | Issue: November 2011
A magician at last year’s Dickens on the Boulevard mesmerizes a young girl as other participants watch his act.
Can you polka, waltz or do the Virginia reel? Maybe the Galop or Cotillion is more your style? It really doesn’t matter if you can dance because Claremore Main Street is kicking off the Christmas season with their annual Dickens on the Boulevard celebration, and there is plenty of family-friendly fun for everyone. Scheduled for November 18-19 in historic downtown Claremore, the event is a Victorian-themed holiday festival featuring stage entertainment, street dancing, a costume contest, food and more.
The vintage festival will begin at 6 p.m. on both nights, when the downtown area is blocked off to traffic to allow all participants to stroll, dance or ride by wagon down the historic streets. Approximately 16 businesses will stay open through the evening until 8 p.m.
Businesses, decorated for the holiday season, will host an open house during the free event. Shoppers can sign up for drawings to receive up to $100 in Dickens Dollars to spend at the participating merchants. “It’s a good time to get started on your Christmas shopping,” says Cindy Bissett, Claremore Main Street’s executive director.
Visitors will be transported back to the Victorian era with live storefront window displays. Individuals, donned in their extravagantly designed gowns and frock coats, will engage people strolling down the sidewalks.
A blacksmith at last year’s Dickens on the Boulevard celebration demonstrates his trade.
For those who want to participate in the action by wearing a costume, a contest will be held to determine the best dressed. Winners will receive prizes in the following categories: man, woman, couple, young man, young woman, boy and girl.
Onstage entertainment provided by local groups will begin at 6 in the middle of the block on both nights. The Gallery of the Arts will host artisans in their store at this year’s celebration. Children can also have their photos snapped with Santa Claus for $3.
The upper floors of three of Claremore’s most historic buildings will come alive on both nights as “Tales from the Top” returns with a guided tour of the upper floors and a “slightly embellished story from Claremore’s past,” says Bissett. “Participants will get to hear a story from a character that is closely associated with the building’s past as they portray their life in early-day Claremore.”
The top floor tours are guided by flashlight, according to Bissett. “Some of these top floors have not been inhabited for over 40 years.”
Tour participants, who can pay $3 in advance or $5 at the door, not only hear the actor’s story, but also are allowed to explore on their own. “We don’t clean the upper floor,” says Bissett, “so if you have a dust problem or trouble climbing stairs, this might not be for you.” Due to time constraints, approximately 90 people per night can participate in the Tales from the Top.
Promptly at 8 on both nights, those who want to cut loose to the sounds of the Victorian-era music can literally dance in the streets as Dr. Phil Sample, RSU professor, calls the dances, like the Virginia Reel.
While the majority of the activities are free, $5 will get you a meal of stew or beans with cornbread and dessert. Hot dogs are also available.
Other planned activities include the Territorial Marshals Reenactment, a Living Nativity, and wagon rides to Christmas at the Belvidere for $3 per person or $5 per couple. A new element this year, Santa’s Clauset, a project sponsored by Youth Leaders in Action, will be open both nights and on December 3. “These are local youth learning how to open and run a business,” says Bissett. “It will be a place where children pre-K through 5th grade can shop for affordable holiday gifts for their loved ones. There will be a wide variety of merchandise to choose from.”
Put on your dancing shoes and get ready for Dickens on the Boulevard, November 18-19.
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.