ROGERSVILLE — The Ghost of Christmas Past will appear in Rogersville on Nov. 28 to remind us of a simpler time when all we wanted for the holidays was a song, a dance and a fat goose.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, downtown Rogersville will host its first ever “Dickens of a Christmas” festival, featuring singing, dancing and a variety of holiday fun from 1840s London.
Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other favorite Christmas characters from the stories of Charles Dickens will take over downtown Rogersville from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. along with Christmas carolers, dance teams and other performers.
Downtown businesses will be decorating their window displays in keeping with the Dickens Christmas theme, and the event also features a Yule log ceremony and a mini-Christmas village for finding stocking stuffers. Another feature expected to be popular is a s’mores station inside the Christmas village.
ETSU performers in Dickens era attire
You won’t be able to blame this event on “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.”
A Dickens of a Christmas is being organized by the Rogersville Heritage Association.
RHA spokesperson Renee Trent said Monday that one of the featured attractions during Dickens of a Christmas will be student performers from East Tennessee State University who will be caroling in Dickens period attire throughout the event.
There will also be carolers from area churches performing throughout the day along with local dance organizations that will perform Christmas programs.
Downtown restaurants and businesses will be open, and the public is encouraged to come hungry and sample the local cuisine.
“We will have a few booths similar to the Vintage Market, but not nearly as many because again we’re trying to promote Rogersville businesses,” Trent said. “We are going to have a Yule log ceremony, which I’ll be honest, this is going to be my first, and I’m not real sure what that is. (Local artist and radio station owner) Debbie Beal is in charge of that. We’re going to have a station for kids to make a craft. We’ll have a fire pit right at Town Square where they can make s’mores.”
“We’re hoping it becomes an annual tradition”
Scrooge once asked, “Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?”
Trent said the RHA is hoping A Dickens of a Christmas “will be” an annual tradition in Rogersville after this inaugural event.
“This event is 100% for the community,” Trent said. “This isn’t an RHA fundraiser or anything like that. We’re really just trying to promote the community, and Christmas, and hopefully end the year on a positive note with folks getting to come out and see our beautiful city. We think we can make it work, and we’re hoping it becomes an annual tradition.”
Dickens of a Christmas will also be the first of three consecutive Christmas-action-packed Saturdays in Rogersville. The annual Christmas parade is Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.; and the RHA’s annual Christmas tour of homes will be Dec. 12.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s tour of homes will be of outdoor decorations instead of the traditional indoor home tours. The Times News will have more details on that event at a later date.
“Get out and enjoy our town”
And don’t be concerned that the event will be, in the words of Scrooge, “a poor excuse for picking a man’s pocket every 25th of December!”
A Dickens of a Christmas is free to the public.
“This is not a money-making event,” Trent said. “It’s just to give us something to do and get out and enjoy our town.”
For more information about Dickens of a Christmas, call the RHA main office at (423) 272-1961 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although this is an outdoor event, social distancing and other COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place.