Dickens on the Boulevard takes downtown back in time

Claremore has been stuck in a time loop for the last 20 years.

Every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving, downtown Claremore is transported back to the 1800s with Dickens on the Boulevard. And this year, now entering two decades of Claremore’s favorite holiday event, is no different.

Free to attend, Dickens on the Boulevard is a two-night Victorian-themed Christmas festival set to kick off at 6 p.m. on Nov. 18 and 19.

“Dickens on the Boulevard is one of my favorite events each year,” said Jessica Jackson, Claremore Main Street director. “It propels you back in time, showcasing some of the great aspects of the Victorian era, while still giving you the perks downtown Claremore currently has to offer.”
Guests will feel like they are back in the 1800s as they walk through downtown and see the blacksmiths, hand spinners, street urchins performing on the sidewalks and other actors in a “living window.”

Those who get a little thirsty can stop by the saloon for entertainment, a sip of sarsaparilla and a chance to play cards with the Territorial Marshals.

Further down the street is a living nativity scene, a horse and carriage ride to the Belvidere Mansion and Santa’s Workshop – a chance for children to paint an ornament to take home to put on their trees.

In the middle block, stage entertainment will greet attendees while Santa Claus is available for holiday pictures inside the Cranberry Merchant, 417 W. Will Rogers Blvd., for $5.

A volunteer will be available to take family photos by at 12-foot tree in the lobby of the Will Rogers Hotel on individual cell phones for free.

Beginning at 7:45 p.m. each night will be a re-enactment. On Friday night, the Territorial Marshals will perform and on Saturday, the Tri-State Gunfighters will take to the streets.

Stores stay open during the event. Shoppers can qualify for the Dickens Dollars drawing by spending $10 in any of the participating stores or simply by walking into the store and asking for their complimentary ticket.

There is a separate drawing each night. Winners receive “Dickens Dollars,” which are good to spend as cash in any of the participating stores through Christmas Eve.

Each year, the event features a Victorian costume contest with categories for different ages and genders as well as for the best dressed couple.

Following the costume awards presentation is the festival’s nightcap – the Victorian stroll and street dance. The stroll is the perfect opportunity for young and old to get together on the street and enjoy the old-fashioned entertainment.

“Watching people from all walks of life dancing together in the streets is such a wonderful thing,” Jackson said. “It warms your heart to see the community come together downtown like that.”

Tales from the Top is a ticketed tour of the upper floors of five downtown Claremore buildings held in conjunction with Dickens on the Boulevard.

The tour begins at 6 p.m. and last about an hour. Tickets are $10 and are limited. They can be purchased beginning on Nov. 1 at the Claremore Main Street office, 419 W. Will Rogers Blvd.

“People love traveling up the upper floors, especially those abandoned, and hearing a little about the history of the building,” Jackson said. “We host small plays that help showcase some the history of the buildings and of Claremore as a whole.”

Tales from the Top is family friendly but some of the buildings do not have electricity and those on the tour can see only through battery-powered lights in the buildings and complimentary flashlights, so it may not be suitable for all children.

Dickens on the Boulevard is hosted by Claremore Main Street and sponsored by Kevin Fortna, CPA, Will Rogers Downs Casino and the City of Claremore.

For more information, visit the website or call 918-341-5881.

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