With 200 characters planned to roam the downtown Franklin streets, this year’s Dickens of Christmas could be the biggest one yet.
Set for Dec. 10-11, the Heritage Foundation will bring the joy and charm of an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas. This year’s event marks its 32nd anniversary, and will feature both time-honored activities that have become perennial favorites, as well as a few new traditions in the making.
Heritage Foundation Street Festival Coordinator Abby Williams said she anticipates at least 70,000 people between both days of the weekend event. Dickens will stretch from First to Fifth Avenues.
“We are going to have a ton of people,” Williams said. “Last year it was 70 degrees, but this year it’s going to between 40 and 50 degrees. It’s going to make it feel more Victorian. We are trying to portray the time of the Charles Dickens area during Christmas, and that doesn’t always work when it’s 70 degrees outside. We are excited it will be cooler.
“I’ve already talked to people on the phone traveling from Georgia and Alabama, which are our two largest areas where people come from to travel. We have a lot of out of town people coming in for this.”
New this year is the dedicated kids area at Landmark Community Bank, sponsored by Rolling Hills Community Church. They will offer arts and crafts, games and a photo booth.
“We’ve had kids’ attractions, but they have been kind of spread out,” Williams said. “Those will still be there. But we have an actual dedicated free kids area like we do at Pumpkinfest. So we are definitely excited.”
Other than the one new facet, here’s what to expect:
– There will be several places to hear music. You can listen at Fourth and First Avenues and Main Street and the public square stage. Music City Strings will also play in front of Five Points.
– The second annual Lucky Scruff Wintery Whisker Revue will take place Sunday at 2 p.m. on the public square stage. It’s hosted by Lucky Scruff, which is inside The Factory at Franklin. There’s early entry to sign up to participate. There are four categories of winners, which all will offer a trophy and a gift card.
– The town sing will start at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday with Aaron Shust. He will do his songs from 4 to 4:30 p.m. and then start the town sing.
– Thomas Stringfellow, an American Idol contestant from season 15, will start singing at 2:50 p.m. on the public square stage.
Here’s how to make parking easy:
Dickens of a Christmas off-site parking and shuttles will be available on Saturday and Sunday.
Pick up locations include Church of the City on Saturday only (828 Murfreesboro Road) and Harlinsdale Farm on both days (239 Franklin Road).
The cost is $1 each way and the shuttles will run 10 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. on Sunday.
Emily West covers Franklin, education, and high school football for the Franklin Home Page. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.