A Dickens-Themed Christmas Stroll Through Harwich Center

by William F. Galvin
The cast of "A Dickens Of A Christmas- A Christmas Carol In Harwich"  in front of Brooks Academy , built in the same era  that Dickens wrote his novella. COUNRTESY PHOTO The cast of "A Dickens Of A Christmas- A Christmas Carol In Harwich" in front of Brooks Academy , built in the same era that Dickens wrote his novella. COUNRTESY PHOTO

HARWICH CENTER – The village will be transformed this weekend into a Victorian England setting circa1843 as the Christmas in Harwich Weekend Festival sponsored by the chamber of commerce presents “Dickens Of A Christmas - A Christmas Carol In Harwich.”

“The free, open to the public experience will take guests on a magical journey through the Victorian world of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cyndi Williams. “The event will allow the audience to bear witness to the heartwarming story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformative Christmas Eve as it unfolds before their eyes on the streets of the village.

“This immersive and innovative production surrounds stroll-goers with the sights and sounds of a Victorian-era village in real-world locations that serve as the backdrop for this traveling indoor and outdoor retelling of the classic tale,” she said.

The chamber of commerce has joined with New Latitude Event Solutions, an event management and planning company, to present the immersive theatrical event on Saturday, Dec. 2 from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitors will step onto Victorian streets, envisioned and recreated to transport them back in time to where they encounter familiar characters like Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. These iconic characters will engage with visitors as they guide the story, making everyone a part of the narrative, according to producer Christopher Schultz.

The event will also feature seasonal treats, warm beverages, and live music to add to the festive atmosphere, said Williams..

The production is directed and designed by Cape theater veteran Tristan DiVincenzo, and it promises to be a highlight of Christmas in Harwich Festival Weekend, said Williams.

The event is the brainchild of Schultz, of New Latitude Event Solutions, and Williams. She was looking for a way to “Dickens up” the holiday festival based on a conversation she had with Fire Chief David LeBlanc and his wife Marcy, who had attended a Dickens Festival in Tennessee.

“We need to do this in Harwich,” Williams said LeBlanc told her.

Williams said she approached New Latitude to assist with developing the concept. She said Schultz had a rough concept for a similar production in mind for some time, and with support of space and resources from the Cape Cod Theatre Company, it came together.

“Dickens of a Christmas” is only part of the larger Christmas in Harwich weekend, said Williams. The Harwich Port Stroll starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1. On Saturday, Dec. 2, while the Dickens event is happening in Harwich Center, East Harwich will host Santa’s Winter Wonderland, which will feature a series of engaging entertainers such as magicians and stilt walkers, Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, where families can decorate Christmas cookies, a place to craft a list and send a letter to Santa, and of course, Santa Claus.

On the evening of Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. there will be a fireworks display over Pleasant Bay at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. On Sunday, Dec. 3 at noon, a new tradition to the weekend festival, a holiday parade, will roll through Harwich Center, beginning at Harwich Elementary School and ending at Monomoy Regional High School. There will be another “Dickens of a Christmas” performance in Harwich Center at the conclusion of the parade. There are numerous other festival weekend activities happening in town. For details, visit www.harwichcc.com.