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Thousands Jam Downtown Narberth for Dickens Festival

The event kept everyone in the borough busy Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday, the Narberth Dickens Festival transformed the main streets of Narberth into a parcel of 1840's London.

All the characters from Charles Dickens' classic tale, "A Christmas Carol," were walking the streets that were lined with vendors selling foods from the period, goods, and providing entertainment, all under blue skies on a brisk, calm day.

Thousands of people from the region came to experience the event and its many activities, including a free scavenger hunt & free prizes for kids, horse and carriage rides, musicians and carolers, ice sculpting displays, a "Punch and Judy" puppet show performances and "Nutcracker" dance performances from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and much more.

"Every year it exceeds our expectations," said Ed Ridgway, communications director for the Narberth Business Association (NBA). "It seems like there were twice as many people as last year--and last year was a huge success."

Ridgway, sporting a Victorian era top hat, said the NBA planned on 750 children taking part in the scavenger hunt, in which kids look throughout Narberth's main downtown streets for characters from Dickens' famous story. Though the event ran from noon until 4 p.m., all 750 scavenger hunt packages were gone by 2:30.

"By the time 1 o'clock rolled around, we were mobbed," said Fred "Fezziwig" Hansell, the assistant borough manager.

"In just a few years, this has really taken on a life of its own," said Pat Dailey, the NBA's president. "There were thousands and thousands of people here, and every one of them seemed to have a smile on their faces. It's really become a signature holiday event for the Main Line." 

Our gallery gives a glimpse of the scene.

Patch editors Thomas J. Walsh and Eric Campbell contributed to this report.

Christine Ambrose December 11, 2011 at 04:23 PM
It was a wonderful family event just wish the streets were free of cars for the 750 kids that participated would have been much safer.
Avi Loren Fox December 11, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Great article! It was a wonderful event :-) Dicken's photos by Nikolai Fox here: www.avilorenfox.com/dickens2011
She December 12, 2011 at 02:09 AM
The event is lovely - and Narberth is an amazing place. But the street NEEDED to be closed down. It was too crowded on the sidewalks to enjoy the festivities and the vendors. Also, the cars parked on the street were a major distraction from the feel of the 1800's event. Please next year, follow through in making it a perfect event. The street is closed often for other music festivals and parades. It would not be difficult.
Cindy Ridgway December 12, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Wonderful event. Many thanks to the volunteers who gave up countless hours of their time to plan it and to all the volunteers who spent much of their Saturday working it. There wouldn't be a terrific event like Dickens if not for your willingness to sacrifice your spare time to make our holiday season a bit more special, and fun.
Tom DelMonte December 13, 2011 at 01:34 PM
One of the best Narberth festivals of the year! And the businesses and volunteers did such an amazing job. The weather was perfect, the streets were busy (yes, no cars would be nice) and the food and drinks were everywhere. A big thank you to those that organize the event.

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