A Dickens of a Christmas

Fort Museum & Frontier Village to host a free, family fun event this Saturday

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Wendy Mills takes in a Charles Dickens tale. The Fort Museum and Frontier Village Opera House will kick off this holiday season with their first event, “A Dickens of a Christmas at the Fort,” a free event to be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Shop, play, and feast in the Fort Museum and Frontier Village Opera House this holiday season during the first annual “A Dickens of a Christmas at the Fort” holiday market on Saturday.

Come and join the many “shoppe keepers” where attendees will discover countless treasures as the fair captures the merriment of Christmas during the time of writer Charles Dickens.

“Whether you are searching for the perfect holiday present for friends and loved ones, or a Christmas treat or two for yourself, this is the perfect time to get into the holiday spirit, while enjoying some of Charles Dickens famous characters,” said Cheryl Sherry, executive director at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.

The event will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Santa Claus arriving at 10 a.m.

Guests will have an opportunity to shop at 40 different marketplace merchants at “A Dickens of a Christmas at the Fort.” There will be furniture, sports items, sweet treats, unique home and yard decor, hand painted wine glasses, jewelry, beauty products, handcrafted candles, handcrafted textiles, handcrafted letters/cards/signs, original artwork, and much more for guests to enjoy and buy.

There will also be food and beverages available for purchase throughout the event catered by Howard Ball Feed Shed, of Moorland.

Guests can expect plenty of holiday treats including shepards pie, homemade pies, gourmet candy, cupcakes, cheesecake, and an assortment of beverages.

Santa Claus will be making his big arrival at the Fort by horsedrawn sleigh at 10 a.m., Kids will be able to tell Santa their wishes for Christmas, as well as being able to take pictures with him in a vintage sleigh.

“Be sure to come early so you do not miss Santa’s big arrival,” Sherry said.

After Santa arrives, there will also be sleigh rides available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sleigh rides will be through the woods behind Friendship Haven, and it will cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

“A Dickens of a Christmas at the Fort,” is a bustling theatrical environment, combining the magic of the traditional holiday season with the writings of Charles Dickens.

The event is a combination of stage performances and improvisational acting in the streets of the village and in the Opera House, always involving the audience and encouraging them to feel part of the show.

“Even if you’re just strolling off to get lunch, you are a Victorian character doing so, which is what makes the event so interesting,” Sherry said. ”You will meet a multitude of characters that will come to life from the Dicken’s novels, ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Oliver Twist.'”

Guests will be able to meet characters from Dickens’ novels such as Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and his family, Tiny Tim, Queen Victoria, Oliver Twist, Fagin, Nancy, and the Artful Dodger.

Along with the Dickens’ characters walking around, guests will also be able to enjoy students in the arts performing at 11 a.m. and noon. The kids will be singing while also creating works of art at the same time.

“This is our first year holding “A Dickens of a Christmas” at the Fort Dodge Fort Museum and Frontier Village,” Sherry said. “In order to bring more awareness and people to the Fort, we have decided to hold numerous events throughout the year that are entertaining and family oriented.”

Admission is free and parking is adjacent to the Opera House and the Village Lane Trading Post.

The Trading Post gift shop will also be having a special sale during the event.

For more information, or if you would like to help decorate the Fort or volunteer for this event, call the Fort at 573-4321.

“The museum staff and Fort Dodge Historical Foundation are very excited about holding this free, family fun event, and we can’t wait to see how it will expand throughout the following years,” Sherry said.

A Dickens of a Christmas at the Fort

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fort Museum

and Frontier Village

Cost: Free