SKANEATELES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The holiday season is quickly approaching, and without fail, you can find Dickens Christmas back again for its 30th edition in Skaneteles.

Beginning Nov. 24 through Christmas, you can find a real-life A Christmas Carol along the streets in the village of Skaneateles.

Their hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with a limited show (noon to 2:30 p.m.) on Christmas Eve.

Now, close your eyes and take yourself back to 1842.

Queen Victoria has arrived in town with Charles Dickens, whom she has commissioned to write a Christmas story. During their monthlong stay, Dickens gains inspiration from a bevy of now-familiar characters, along with finishing school girls, pickpocketers and other villagers. The story unfolds each week as Dickens and his entourage interact with cast members and passersby.

Also visiting is Dickens’ friend Washington Irving, who is working on his latest ghost story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

Group M Communications

“We’re thrilled to celebrate our 30th anniversary here in Skaneateles,” said producing director Jim Greene, who plays Dickens. “Her majesty Queen Victoria and I are excited to embrace the warmth and love we find here every year.”

On Dec. 10, “Mayor Fezziwig” will host a Christmas Ball at the Sinclair of Skaneateles. “We hope you can join us and wish you all the happiest Christmas ever!” said Greene.

What to expect at Dickens Christmas this year:

According to Group M Communications.

  • World’s Smallest Christmas Parade. Nov. 24, starting at noon at the Skaneateles Village Hall on Fennell Street, proceeding east to Jordan and Genesee Streets and arriving at the Hannum House porch in time for the 12:10 p.m. grand opening.
  • Midday Revels — Christmas carol sing-along — 2 p.m. every day at the gazebo. Twelve groups form, representing the 12 days of Christmas. The groups vie for attention, and at the end, Queen Victoria awards a silver teasel to the most spirited performer. Winners have been known to wear their coveted silver teasels throughout the season.
  • Trunk shows, in which Washington Irving and Charles Dickens perform lighthearted versions of their Christmas stories with help from the audience at 12:30 p.m. at the gazebo and 3 p.m. at the library each day.
  • Horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides Nov. 24 and 25 (weather permitting) departing from The Sherwood Inn, provided by Rt. 80 Quarry Ridge Stables. Wagon rides are $5 per person, $20 per family (of up to six), and $5 for each additional person thereafter. Private carriage rides are offered for a $50 donation (cash only).
  • Appearances by the Bright Friday Brass, Nov. 24, and every Saturday.
  • Musical performances by the Classic Guitar Ensemble from the Music School of CNY, Symphoria, and a variety of other groups, and dance performances by the cast’s finishing school girls.
  • Fezziwig’s Christmas Ball, 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 10 at The Sinclair of Skaneateles, 4357 Jordan Road, with festive English country dancing led by the Syracuse Country Dancers. Tickets are $20 per person.
  • A snowman-building contest in Clift Park on Dec. 16 (weather permitting). Bring your own supplies and creativity! Queen Victoria will judge the entries at 2:45 p.m. The first prize is a $50 gift card from The Sherwood Inn; the second prize is two Dickens mugs with cocoa.
  • “A Christmas Story — The Radio Play,” presented at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at Auburn Public Theater. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under. A live stream will be available for those unable to attend in person.
  • Free refreshments, including roasted chestnuts donated by Tops Friendly Markets (available outside Pure Placid) and Byrne Dairy eggnog served by the Girl Scouts (Saturdays only, in front of Loft 42).

As for the children, Father Christmas will hand out treats from the porch of the Masonic Temple, and Mother Goose will read holiday stories at Loft 42.

Dickens Christmas is produced by Scarlett Rat Entertainment and presented by Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and the Skaneateles-area business community.

What goes into the production of Dickens Christmas

The holiday special has over 40 cast members, which includes a young apprentice talent. They are also joined by caroling groups and guest musicians.

“The show comes together in just six rehearsals,” Group M Communications.

“We pack a lot in and streamline the process of building a character,” said Greene. “Every actor learns music and uses improvisational techniques to build their character and become part of the ensemble.” 

Who works on the production?

  • Maria DeMitchell, of Marcellus, who is artistic director and plays Queen Victoria
  • Victoria King, of Syracuse, who is music director and plays Lady Mariah. King is assisted by Patrick Glaub, of Hazel Park, Michigan, who plays Washington Irving.
  • John Michael Decker, of Queensbury, who is associate director and plays Scrooge
  • Brett Norsworthy, of Wolcott, who is production manager and plays undertaker Barry M. Deep
  • Tracey Greene, of Dryden, who is costumer
  • Kristin Palazzoli, of Fayetteville, who is associate costumer

Dickens Christmas raffles

  • First prize: Mirbeau gift package valued at $750
  • Stay and Dine package from The Sherwood Inn and Gilda’s
  • Gift basket from Balsam Rose Soap Co.
  • Downtown Dining basket
  • Health and Wellness basket
  • Dickens basket featuring items by Eleanor Rhinehart Studio
  • New Hope Mills basket
  • Two tickets to a 2024 performance at The Rev
  • Attendance for two at a Pick Your Project Workshop at Board & Brush
  • Chocolate Pizza Company gift basket

The tickets are $5 each, three for $10, and 10 for $25 are on sale at the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce and other village locations, according to Group M Communications.

There is paid parking available in the municipal lot between State and Jordan Streets.

You can find free parking available in the Austin Park Pavilion lot at the corner of Jordan and Austin Streets.

The first four weekends, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., a free shuttle will run between these two lots and the village, stopping behind Doug’s Fish Fry. 

For more information on Dickens Christmas, you can CLICK HERE, call 315-685-0552, or follow the event on Facebook (Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce or Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles).