It’s a 27-year holiday tradition in Historic Downtown Franklin on the second weekend in December to travel back in time about 150 years to a Main Street from the time of Charles Dickens, and the tradition continues this year, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Dickens of a Christmas is a free street festival, is open to the public, and is expected to attract some 50,000 visitors over the weekend.
More than 250 volunteers participate in the event as characters from Dickens’ stories, vendors or street performers. Show up any time over the course of the weekend, and you’re sure to meet Ebenezer Scrooge, his unfortunate partner Marley (the ghost in chains), little Tiny Tim Cratchit and his family, and many more, including Father Christmas.
Anyone is invited to join the fun by showing up in costume and engaging with the characters on the street, or just come as you are and enjoy a beautifully preserved Main Street with more than 70 unique shopping and dining destinations in the 15-block National Register Historic District.
On Saturday, the Flat Creek Community Contra Dancers bring more than 80 beautifully costumed characters dancing and re-enacting scenes from Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.” They perform in the street at the intersection of Fourth and Main at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Street performers on Main Street include local high school honors choruses, honors bands, strings ensembles, harpists, water harmonica player Donal Hinely, Harpeth Suzuki strings, the Clearview Baptist church handbell choir, and the Pull-Tight Players Youth Guild.
- Activities include: Horse-drawn carriage rides around the Public Square for $2 per person.
- A holiday bazaar arts & crafts area encircles Franklin’s charming Public Square.
- Dancers and street musicians on Main Street throughout the event. Violinists, hand bell choirs, harpists, carolers and even a water harmonica player all add to the entertaining street scene.
- Costumed characters from Dickens’ stories interacting with visitors on the street. Scrooge bellows his “Bah! Humbug” while the Cratchit Family parades the streets with Tiny Tim.
- Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future make regular appearances. Urchins under the direction of the nefarious Fagin from Dicken’s Oliver pester English Bobbies (who are actually Franklin Police Officers on duty in costume). Father and Mother Christmas delight children.
- Victorian treats abound, from authentic fish ‘n’ chips to turkey legs, roasted nuts, kettle corn, roasted corn, roasted pork, sausages and sugar plums.
- Everyone is invited to join the Town Sing starting at the Public Square at the town Christmas tree at 4:30 p.m. p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, with candles ($1 donation requested) and song sheets.
Dickens of a Christmas is free and open to the public, presented by The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association, which seeks to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.