The Victorian Era and Dickens on Centre

September 9, 2022
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With so many ties to Great Britain and the Victorian era, it seemed fitting that Amelia Island's Dickens on Centre festival was created and that each December our sleepy seaport village is transformed into a spectacular Victorian atmosphere that even ole Ebenezer would love. 

This year promises to bring all the holiday fun that you've come to love - so brush off your bowlers and dust off your petticoats because Dickens on Centre will be here before you know it (December 8-11)! In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at the festival's five fun zones and how they tie into Merry Ole England. 

Artist Alley

Artistry and creativity are a staple in an outdoor village marketplace and a visit down Artist Alley (N 2nd Street) will quickly tell you that. Featuring art, creative crafts, and open-air entertainment, Artist Alley provides an excellent atmosphere and vibe for those looking for unique gifts and wares from creative vendors. Speaking of which, did you know that in Victorian times the peddler's (vendor's) customers, who usually had little to no money, paid for goods with produce, furs, moonshine, scrap metal, leather, or even rags? The peddlers would accept these bartered goods and then turn around and sell them in nearby towns. Now that's a creative peddler, er vendor. You get the picture!

Oliver's Alley

Oliver's Alley (S 3rd Street) offers an eclectic mix of vendors and entertainment including delicious treats and food trucks serving up homemade pickles and pies, honey, and dips. You can also find clothing, gifts for pets, and jewelry to check off Christmas wish list items. Much like Oliver Twist, whom the alley is named for, there's a mish-mosh of characters in this zone. However, unlike Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger, there will be no pickpockets allowed!

Peddler's Village

A peddler by Victorian terms, was a travelling vendor of goods. A person who would hawk his or her goods from the countryside to proper villages and bustling small towns. Because they had no actual "storefront", peddlers could charge lower prices for a variety of small goods. Fast forward to Dickens on Centre's Peddler's Village (Centre Street) where street vendors will be peddling their wares of everything from homemade candles and soaps to tee shirts and coffee mugs. Make your holiday shopping a breeze in Peddler's Village for that one-of-a-kind gift for those who are hard to buy for.

Enchanted Village

If you've ever shaken a snow globe, chances are you've wondered how you could magically be transported into that snowy scene in front you. It's a fascination never outgrown with roots over a century old. As a matter of fact, after the 1889 Paris Expo where the snow globe made its first debut, Great Britain couldn't get enough of the handheld holiday collectibles that they fondly called "snowstorms" and even Queen Victoria herself collected them. At Dickens on Centre's Enchanted Village (S 2nd Street), you can experience the feeling of being inside a holiday snow globe by reserving one hour in one of eight festive domes, each decorated in a unique Holiday theme. Seating up to six people, your "snow globe" session includes a delicious individual charcuterie grazing box curated by Luxe Picnics by Les, and a bottle of natural spring water. Additionally, the Enchanted Village will feature its own tavern, "The Portly Gentleman" with a selection of red or white wine, beer and bubbly which can be purchased on-site to accompany your grazing box. Who knows, you may even see snow!

Tiny Tim's Kid Zone

Tiny Tim, the beloved boy from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, represents all that is good, optimistic and loving. Despite his ailments he always put others above himself and remained cheerful and full of Christmas wonder. Tiny Tim’s Kid Zone (N 3rd Street) promises to bring that same spirit of the holiday season to kids of all ages. Enjoy Victorian and holiday inspired games and crafts as well as family-friendly entertainment and an outdoor movie theatre showing all the classic holiday family-favorites (think ElfThe Santa ClauseThe Man Who Invented ChristmasPolar Express and The Muppets Christmas Carol). The other beloved Christmas figure, St. Nick himself, will also be in attendance and is guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of children and children at heart. If you don't get to see the "big guy" himself, don't worry. You can write him a letter and pop it in the special holiday mailbox that goes straight to the North Pole! God Bless us, everyone.

Visit AMELIA ISLAND CHRISTMAS to keep up with all the merriment including Dickens After Dark, Dickens Illuminated Procession, Dickens Dining & Drinks, and Run Like the Dickens.

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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.