The Narberth Dickens Festival
Sunday, December 4, 2016 - 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 Ebenezer Scrooge and all the characters from A Christmas Carol roam the streets for an afternoon.
There is entertainment and activities for all ages, including carriage rides, crafts, carolers, period vendors and food, dancers, musicians , ballet performances, puppet shows, ice sculptors, a free scavenger hunt for children, and much more.
The 2016 Narberth Dickens Festival features:
Ebenezer 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 prizes last
horse and carriage rides through the Narberth streets
professional brass musicians
The Men of Harmony Dickensian carolers
Horn's Punch & Judy Puppet Show (www.hornspunch.com)
The Kingsessing Morris Men
free craft activities for kids
professional ice sculpting display
free showing of A Muppet Christmas Carol - at 11am at Reel Cinemas Narberth 2 (seating is limited to theater capacity)
free "Nutcracker" dance performances from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm
- hot toddies from local establishments
- outdoor dance performances
hot chocolate in souvenir mugs
period-authentic vendors and street food
Here is the "Events of the Day" page from the festival newspaper, "The Fish Wrapper"
Here is the Map from the festival newspaper, "The Fish Wrapper"
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 Photo Gallery
See 2010 Slideshow and Video
Where is it?
The festival is spread over a few blocks 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.
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.
Where do we start?
Start by getting your "passport" stamped at one of the Immigration stations. There's one at the corner of Forrest Ave & 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. Once your passport is stamped, you'll want to buy a bag of Shillings for the family to spend on carriage rides, souvenirs, food, and other items throughout the festival.
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. Buy some shillings when you get to the festival, and give a few to the kids. They will love having their own "festival money" to spend. And remember, they can also earn a shilling for completing the scavenger hunt!
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 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 seven wooden
nickels in your cup from the Dickens characters roaming through the town. You can also find other opportunities and perform tasks to earn nickels throughout the Festival. Bring back 7 wooden nickels in your tin cup to
receive your prize.
Successful hunters earn a Narberth Shilling (see above), which gets them their choice of a top hat, festival pin, carriage ride, hot chocolate, or any of the many other festival goodies. Or kids can spend the shilling at vendors and stores throughout the festival.
These Scavenger Hunt tasks can earn you a nickel:
Finding Dickens characters;
Doing a craft at Great Expectations Together, The Handwork Studio, or Sweet Mabel Studio (all three are "on the hill");
Doing a craft at Swan Dancewear;
Taking a "seat" at the ice sculpture on Narberth Ave;
Singing a song at Fuzion;
Making "choice" at Village Treats;
Juggling with the Jester;
Dancing with Mr. Fezziwig;
Finding the Knight in Nannygoat Alley; and
Donating a toy at the Toys for Tots table.
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.
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 storyteller, Rochelle Longwill from Livin' Large Literature. This year's story is The Kiss that Missed. This will be followed by a twenty
minute excerpt from the Academy's performance of a Nutcracker Suite.
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.
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 email@example.com. The vendor application is here.
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.