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Dickens’ Festival brings London-style Christmas to southern Utah

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Posted at 8:48 PM, Dec 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-07 00:13:01-05

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- From Queen Victoria to Father Christmas’ reindeer, folks in St. George are getting a ye olde fashioned Christmas this week through the Dickens’ Festival.

The Dickens’ Christmas Festival has been a tradition for close to 30 years. More than 200 vendors fill the Dixie Center as the hall is transformed into the makeshift streets of 19th century London. Great attention to detail has been taken, shops employees are asked to present in era attire and speak with a British accent.

“It just all started with Charles Dickens,” Festival Director Brittney Dell said. “We just thought the Scrooge, the bah humbug, bring the Christmas season back.”

The Dickens’ Christmas Festival has been a part of Dell’s life since she played the little match girl in the early years of the festival. Her family chose Dickens’ London as a backdrop because of the traditional Christmas feel it evokes.

Every year the festival grows and brings new attractions. The reindeer are a new addition this year. And despite some pretty serious criteria for participation, vendors say the old English feel is rather fun.

“It does have its moments,” said first time vendor Debbie Kay. “It has taken me days to learn [a British accent]. Being raised here in southern Utah, it’s not something you practice often.”

And festival goers said that’s all part of the charm that makes this one of southern Utah’s most popular festivals.

“I love it. I love it,” festival goer Linda Carterbeck said. “It feels like Christmas. It gets you started.”

“You have to watch 'A Christmas Carol' every year and he wrote that of course,” said first time attendee Vicki Peludat. “What’s more Christmasy than that?”

The festival runs through Saturday at the Dixie Center. They’ll be set up at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy from Dec. 11 through the 14th.

More information can be found on the Dickens’ Christmas Festival website.