Traditions run deep in Claremore, and one of the town’s favorite is kicking off the holiday season with Dickens on the Boulevard in downtown Claremore.
For the last 21 years, Claremore has celebrated holiday with the Victorian-themed Christmas festival right in the heart of downtown. Donning historic attire, the streets of downtown are flooded with shoppers enjoying the crisp winter air, holiday music, shopping and re-enactors.
Dickens on the Boulevard brings all that back this year on Nov. 17 and 18, starting at 6 p.m. each night.
“This is such a fun event,” said Jessica Jackson, Claremore Main Street director. “It’s brings the 1800s into 2017 with historic attire, hand crafted goodies and the stroll and street dance, while also starting the holiday season with Christmas shopping, Santa Claus and carolers.”
Walking the three blocks of Claremore’s historic downtown, visitors will be greeted by actors in a “living window,” street urchins and even a chuckwagon feast. A carriage ride to the Belvidere Mansion and back and a saloon – Wantland Public House — with sarsaparilla and a chance to play cards with the Territorial Marshals give guests even more of that Victorian spirit.
Gearing up for Christmas, Santa Claus will be on site in the Cranberry Merchant, 417 W. Will Rogers Blvd., for photos for $5, and just down the street will be a living nativity by Shepherd’s Cross.
New this year, a Victorian fencing demonstration will take place in the middle block at 7:15 p.m. both nights. A group from Texas will exhibit fencing technique straight from the Victorian era.
“We are thrilled to add the fencing demonstration this year,” Jackson said. “The crew will be on hand after their show to teach guests their skills.”
Following the demonstration, the annual shootout will take place at 7:45 p.m. The Territorial Marshals will take the stage on Friday while the Tri-State Gunfighters will perform the re-enactment on Saturday.
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.
“Seeing hundreds of people gather in the streets for the dance is inspiring,” Jackson said. “That sense of community and togetherness – it reminds us of the past and captures the Christmas spirit better than anything else I can think of.”
Stores stay open during the event. Shoppers can qualify for the Dickens Dollars drawing by visiting each of the participating stores and asking for their complimentary ticket. Additional tickets may be available with purchases.
Dickens Dollars are gift certificates that spend like cash at participating stores. There are multiple drawings each night. Winners receive Dickens Dollars, which are good to spend through Christmas Eve.
The Tales from the Top tours will be all new this year. It is a ticketed tour that takes guests through the upper floors of five downtown Claremore buildings. A short never-before-seen play will take place in each one, and guests may have an opportunity to poke around the 100-year-old buildings.
The tour begins at 6 p.m. and last about an hour. Tickets are $12 and are limited. They can be purchased beginning on Nov. 1 at the Claremore Main Street office, 419 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
Adding a new tour this year, Claremore Main Street announces an afternoon Historic Walk, which takes guests from the Will Rogers Hotel to the Belvidere Mansion while relaying aspects of Claremore’s history and telling stories that most Claremore residents don’t know.
“The Historic Walk is something we wanted to add this year for those history buffs in town,” Jackson said. “We guarantee each person will learn something new about the town we call home, and about our downtown, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”
Tickets for the Historic Walk are $8 and are limited as well. The tours will be at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. Tickets go on sale at the Main Street office Nov. 1.
“This might be our best Dickens on the Boulevard yet,” Jackson said. “We’ve added new features while keeping all the activities Claremore has grown to love. There’s so much to do, you really might have to come both days!”
Dickens on the Boulevard is hosted by Claremore Main Street. RCB Bank is a major sponsor of the event while Wantland Law Firm is the saloon sponsor. Supporting sponsors are Price & Sears Law Firm, Claremore Chiropractic, Three-Twenty on Main, Kevin Fortna, CPA, and Claremore Industrial and Economic Development Authority.
For more information, visit us online, call 918-341-5881 or email