Dickens on the Boulevard steps out of history and into modern Claremore on Friday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 23, with Victorian-themed Christmas activities for all ages.
The annual festivities begin at 6 p.m. each evening and bring back favorite memories to the downtown area from previous years, through Victorian costume contests and street dances, living windows, live stage entertainment, wagon rides to Claremore Museum of History and Belvidere Mansion, and a lot more.
Returning to Dickens on the Boulevard is the mysterious Tales from the Top: Upper Floor Tours & Stories. Fans of history will explore the second floors of buildings that have been vacant for 50 or more years.
“It’s quite a sight to see,” said Cindy Bissett, executive director of Claremore Main Street. “The tours, led by volunteers, will introduce you to actors that will portray people and events of the building that will just fascinate you.”
Tour stops include last year’s 417 W. Will Rogers Blvd. (previously C.R. Anthony’s; now The Cranberry Merchant), 410 W. Will Rogers Blvd. (previously Haddad’s; now Homeward Bound), 416 W. Will Rogers Blvd. (Heins Jewelry), and 300 W. Will Rogers Blvd. (previously The Ward Rooms; now Bike About Bicycles). A new location added to this year’s attraction is 406 W. Will Rogers Blvd. (previously assorted retailers; now Nostalgia Nook).
Although participation is encouraged, Tales from the Top may not be for everyone; the vacant buildings are dustier than normal, steep stairs must be climbed to reach them, and three of the stops will be lit only by flashlights. Tickets for the upper floor tours are available at Claremore Main Street’s office for $5 each and are limited to the first 60 participants for each night.
Territorial marshal reenactments will enlighten visitors on what life was like in the 1800s through their tales of card games and gunfights.
Taking the stage for your entertainment are Heartland Home Educators Choir, Legacy Christian School Choir, Rehoboth Baptist Hand Bell Choir, A-Piedi Dance Company, and saxophonist Duane Nelson.
Winners of the nightly Victorian costume contests will be announced on stage in the categories of Best Dressed Couple, Best Dressed Man and Woman, Best Dressed Young Man and Woman (ages 13 to 18), and Best Dressed Boy and Girl (under 12).
Local authors will once again meet and greet attendees at Boarding House Books. Some authors currently scheduled include Bill Wetterman, Charles Sasser, Pamela Wetterman, Linda Trout, Tammy Mullins, Carla Stewart, Mary Coley, Lorraine Holman, and Amy Conkling.
Dickens Dollars is making a popular return, with holiday shopping dollars being given to five lucky winners each night. Stop by any of the following locations now until Dickens on the Boulevard for a chance to win: The Cranberry Merchant, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, Bike About Bicycles, Boarding House Books, Outwest Home Décor, Boomerang Diner, Ann & Barbara’s, Sailor Antiques, Vintique Charm, Gallery of the Arts, and Waterfront Frame & Art. Other locations are still being added.
Downtown stores will remain open until 8 each evening.
New this year at Dickens on the Boulevard is old time photography courtesy of Creative Visual Arts. For a fee, families and friends can have their Victorian-themed style etched in history with a photograph matching the era.
Hunger won’t stop visitors from enjoying their time downtown. Joining Dickens on the Boulevard for another year is Dog Creek Outfitters with authentic chuck wagon barbecue. Boy Scouts will be selling hot dogs, and Claremore Main Street will have soda and water available for purchase to help fund the event. Boomerang Diner and Perry Dogs Café will also be open.
As always, Santa Claus will be parking his sleigh on Main Street for the weekend to take photos with the young and the young at heart for $4.
“Dickens on the Boulevard just keeps getting better,” Bissett said. “We offer so many activities for everyone to enjoy, and it’s great to see people come out in their Victorian costumes and just enjoying what downtown Claremore has to offer.”
To learn more about Dickens on the Boulevard, contact Claremore Main Street at (918) 341-5881 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.downtownclaremore.org. Claremore Main Street is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Claremore with specific interest in historic preservation.