By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2012
Dressing up for Dickens on the Boulevard is enjoyed by everyone, including these young people, who participated in last year’s costume contest.
Can you do the Vienna Waltz, the Virginia reel or the Shoddish? Maybe the Grand March or the Polka is more your style. However, 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 with plenty of family-friendly fun for everyone. Scheduled for November 16-17 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 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. Businesses, decorated for the holiday season, will host an open house during the free event. Shoppers can sign up for drawings to receive Dickens Dollars to spend at the participating merchants.
“Last year, we gave away between $200 and $300 per night in drawings for Dickens Dollars, which are good at participating merchants,” says Cindy Bissett, Claremore Main Street’s executive director. “It’s a good time to get started on your Christmas shopping.”
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 pose in the windows like mannequins to engage people strolling down the historic sidewalks.
For those who want to participate in the fun by wearing a Victorian costume, a contest will be held both nights 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, beginning at 6 each night, will draw the crowd to the middle of the block, while children will enjoy having their photos snapped with Santa Claus for $3.
The upper floors of five of Claremore’s 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 Event Chair Nancy Fitts. “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.” This year a new Mystery Twist is being added to the tours. Participants will find a clue at each of the five buildings and can guess the answer to win a prize. A winner will be drawn if more than one entry is correct.
Tour participants not only hear the actor’s story but are also 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 60 people per night can participate in the Tales from the Top, according to Bissett.
Cost for the tours is $5 per person with advance reservations recommended. To make a reservation, call the Claremore Main Street office at (918) 341-5881. Tickets go on sale November 5.
At approximately 8:30 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. “It’s neat to see the youth participate in such old-fashioned fun,” says Fitts. “It’s a fun, family event and people love it.”
Dog Creek Outfitters will be on site with their historic chuck wagon serving up a meal of barbecue and beans, and Perry Dog Café will be on the street selling hot dogs with all the fixings. Kettle corn will also be available for purchase. Other planned activities include the Territorial Marshals Reenactment, a Living Nativity, and displays by period artisans like weavers, blacksmiths, carvers and silversmiths. Area authors will also be on hand signing copies of their books at Boardinghouse Books on the east end of Main Street.
“We are also looking for volunteers to help with the event,” says Bissett, “including people to window sit or set up and clean up.” If you’re ready to boogie into the holiday season, put on your dancing shoes and head to Claremore Main Street for Dickens on the Boulevard.
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.