December 7, 2010

Port Jefferson Village's 15th Annual Charles Dickens Festival

On December 3, 4, and 5, the village of Port Jefferson held its 15th Annual Charles Dickens Festival. All of the shops in this quaint harbor town were decorated for the holidays and hosted different events, some of which were music, theater, literary readings, art exhibits, marshmallow toasts, and food tastings. I ambled slowly through the streets, scarf wrapped tight around my face and neck to ward off the chill in the air, and took in all of the sights. On every street corner stood Dickens-inspired characters, singing Christmas carols and giving out candy canes and gold coins to the passing children. It was a world of both Regency-Era fineries and sooty chimney sweeps who greeted me with a hearty "Allo Gov'ner." There were also live reindeer pens and horse-drawn carriage and trolley rides through the village. In the morning, I stopped in at Fezziwig's Cider Alley for some complimentary spiced cider and listened to a recital of the Polar Express. From there, I went to a gallery to see some of Thomas Kinkade's Christmas-oriented paintings. At the Village Center, I caught an old-time radio dramatization of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Later, I ended up at the First Baptist Church to hear a Baroque Guitar and Lute performance and then to the Presbyterian Church for an afternoon Victorian tea. The experience was delightful and the oatmeal raisin cookies were delicious.

I was most excited to see the electric train display. As I stepped into the Educational Center, I was greeted by a maze of tracks. Three intricately-detailed engines pulled their freight around the tiny rails, passing by tressels and lighted Christmas houses, chugging all the way and puffing smoke into the room. I became completely absorbed by this magical, Lilliputian landscape.

When I returned home in the evening, I was feeling so cheerful from the things that I had seen and done in Port Jefferson Village that I was inspired to set up my own porcelain Christmas village. Year after year, it is always a favorite. May this Christmas season fill your heart with warmth and joy!

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world."

~Isaiah 12:4-5