The Narberth Dickens Festival
Sunday, December 7, 2014 - Noon to 4pm
The Narberth Dickens Festival is a free family event held each December on the streets of downtown Narberth. It draws thousands to this little borough every year, and it has become the fastest-growing holiday festival in the Philadelphia area. In this Dickens-themed event, the town of Narberth is transformed into 1840's London, as Ebeneezer Scrooge and all the characters from A Christmas Carol roam the streets for an afternoon.
There are activities for all ages, including a free and extremely popular scavenger hunt for the children, which sends them searching high and low for Dickens characters in order to win a prize.
The 2013 Festival quickly turned into a winter wonderland. Details from the 2013 Fest are below, and pictures are here.
Sunday, December 8, 2013, Noon - 4pm
The 2014 Narberth Dickens Festival features:
Ebeneezer Scrooge and all the characters from “A Christmas Carol”
dozens of period-authentic costumed performers
free scavenger hunt & free prizes for kids - 1pm to 3pm or while prize supplies last
horse and carriage rides through the Narberth streets
professional brass musicians
The Men of Harmony Dickensian carolers
The Kingsessing Morris Men
free craft activities for kids
professional ice sculpting display
free showing of A Muppet Christmas Carol - at 11am at Narberth Stadium 2 on N. Narberth Ave
free "Nutcracker" dance performances from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm
- Dickens face painting for kids
- hot toddies from local establishments
- puppet shows
- outdoor dance performances
hot chocolate in souvenir mugs
period-authentic vendors and street food
See the schedule for the day's events here.
See the 2012 Dickens Festival in this YouTube video from photographer, Don Groff:
What does it look like?
The theater, fun, and holiday cheer of recent
Dickens Festivals has been captured by some wonderful local photographers, including Narberth native, Nicolai Fox, and photographer, and travel writer, Don Groff.
See 2011 Gallery
See 2010 Slideshow and Video
See 2009 Slideshow
Where is it?
The festival is spread over a few streets in downtown Narberth, PA (See map). There are things to see and do on N. Narberth Ave, "The Hill" on Narberth Ave, Haverford Ave, and Forrest Ave. The main festival tents are stationed on Forrest Ave near the corner of Forrest Ave & Haverford Ave, and on N. Narberth Avenue, across the street from the movie theater.
Where do we start?
Start by getting your "passport" stamped at one of the Immigration stations. There's one at Station Circle on Haverford Ave, and one on N. Narberth Ave, across from the movie theater. While you're there, pick up a copy of The London Fish Wrapper, our festival newspaper. It lists the events of the day, with a map, and information about the scavenger hunt and everything else you need to know about the festival. It also has some funny stories based on real events that occurred in the 1840's.
What does it cost?
Thanks to generous donations of sponsorship dollars and manpower from members of the Narberth Business Association, and other Borough organizations, entrance into the festival and most of the activities are free. Carriage rides cost a Narberth Shilling (our $5 coin), and there are a few souvenirs for sale as well.
The train is a great way to get to Narberth, and the station is right in the middle of the festival. Why worry about parking when Narberth is just three stops from 30th street station on the Paoli/Thorndale (R-5) regional rail line? If you are coming from Philly, or from other spots on the Main Line, check the Sunday Septa schedule here. The eastbound and the westbound trains stop in Narberth once an hour all day Sunday.
There is parking on streets near the festival, and the meters are free on Sunday. These lots are also available:
Narberth Borough Hall (100 Conway Ave)
Keating Building Lot, across from the Narberth Movie Theater
Windsor Ave and Forrest Ave - three lots available
Citizens Bank on Haverford Ave
Elmwood Ave Septa lot on the other side of the train station
St Margaret's School, on N. Narberth Ave
Narberth Presbyterian Church, on Windsor Ave
The Scavenger Hunt 1pm - 3pm
Children of all ages are
invited to start the free scavenger hunt, between 1pm and 3pm at the scavenger hunt festival
tent on Forrest Avenue. You don’t have
to be finished by 3pm, but you cannot start the hunt after 3pm. At the tent, we’ll give you a tin “beggars’
cup”. Your mission is to collect wooden
“pence” coins from the Dickens characters roaming through the town. There are 8 characters, but you only need 6 pence.
Bring back 6 wooden pence in your cup to
receive your prize.
Successful hunters earn a Narberth Shilling (see below), which gets them their choice of a top, hat, festival pin, carriage ride, hot chocolate, or any of the many other festival goodies. Kids who already have top hats from previous years are encouraged to
wear them down to the festival and decorate them with one of the colorful pins!
A Muppet Christmas Carol - Free Movie at the Narberth Movie Theater
scavenger hunt starts, get into the spirit of the Dickens Festival with a free
showing of A Muppet Christmas Carol at Narberth Stadium 2, the movie theater, on N. Narberth Ave. The 11am start time
is perfect for kids who want to learn the the Dickens story before
hitting the streets and searching for the characters. This Rated G
movie is loved by adults and kids of all ages, and runs 89 minutes. Don't be late, because the theater will fill up
fast, and seating is limited to theater capacity of 220 persons.
The Narberth Shilling
The Narberth Shilling is a gold coin worth five
American dollars on the day of the Narberth Dickens Festival. Many vendors and merchants throughout the town
will accept this coin the same as cash today.
You can exchange cash for shillings, and shillings for cash, all day at
the currency exchange booths on Narberth Ave and Forrest Ave. All Festival booths and many shops and
vendors around town accept shillings. In fact, shillings are the only way to pay for carriage rides at the Narberth Dickens Festival.
Academy of Ballet, "on the hill" of N. Narberth Avenue Ave,
will host three performances during the Festival. They start on the
hour at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, with a warm-up act by kid-favorite magician and performer, David Hoffman. This will be followed by a twenty
minute excerpt from the Academy's performance of a Nutcracker Suite.
The 2013 Festival is on! This is a rain, snow, or shine event. It's a holiday festival in Pennsylvania, so a little winter weather goes with the territory! In the event of precipitation, vendors are permitted to use tents. We are expecting a little afternoon snow, and we hope it just adds to the atmosphere!
How do I get involved?
If you are interested in getting involved, as a performer, vendor or volunteer, e-mail the Narberth Business Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I'm already involved, what do I need to know?
Make sure you have your costume ready, and that you have any tables, tents, or props you need. If you need a costume, we can rent one for you inexpensively.