It's a glorious day indeed when I can celebrate two of my favorite things—Charles Dickens and Christmas. So lets raise a glass of grog to Amelia Island for putting on it's first ever 'Dickens On Centre' festival. Victorian splendor graced this charming historic area last weekend and it's happening again this Saturday and Sunday so if you're in the area, put on your best hat and go! We thoroughly enjoyed our jaunt around Centre Street and I thought I'd share little here.
It was cold! But all the more fitting for the experience. We needed a little London air to help us Floridians get in the mood. The horse and carriage sounds from the hidden speakers livened the moment as well. Clip-clop, clip-clop, we heard as we walked the sidewalks and admired the window displays. We saw a chimney sweep, a drummer boy, and many fine ladies and gentlemen. On their way to the haberdashery maybe? Or the millinery shop?
Windows displayed the Victorian theme throughout Centre and the side streets as well. These details really helped to 'tell the story' and create the experience of shopping in another time. And since many of the buildings here date back to the late 1800's, I couldn't help but wonder—who walked here before me?
After strolling around the streets and docks, we tucked into Amelia's Coffee Shop to shake off the cold. Here we had a great cup of joe and scrumptious warm apple pie that was worth every shilling. As yesteryear blended with our modern way of life, I had to giggle, it's not every day you see Dickensians with cardboard cups.
As the afternoon rolled on, holiday music beckoned us to the stage. Dan Voll strummed out the carols and Michele Anders' beautiful voice filled the air, followed by lots of Yuletide cheer with the energetic Yancy Clegg. These performers were new to me and really perfect for the spirit of the season. Something quite magical happens when you hear traditional Christmas songs in an outdoor setting. All passers-by become family in a way, and I just love it.
Eventually we saw where all the pretty people were going—the costume contest—and it was a treat to watch. Led by a couple of good humored ladies that seemed plucked from a Masterpiece Classic film, the event was conducted with tongue-in-cheek decorum and a wee bit of sass. Caped coats, ascots, velvet, and lace—we saw some charming frocks and suits with Victorian flair. I'm only hoping for more contestants next year. Maybe these characters will inspire more people to go through their great great great grandparents closets. Was that enough greats?
We didn't go in costume this time, but maybe next year? It's a good excuse to read my beloved Dickens novels again. Hmmm, whom shall I be?