Turn the clock back to the 1800s and find yourself in the middle of an English novel when the 26th annual Dickens Festival returns to Port Jefferson on Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4.
“Everybody really looks forward to the festival because it’s something that brings us all together in the community,” says Village Mayor Margot J. Garant. “It gives the village a sense of pride and a way to get into the spirit of the season.”
Here’s a rundown of what activities to expect throughout the weekend:
PARADES TO WATCH
The event officially begins with the Grand Opening Parade on East Main Street on Saturday at 11 a.m. featuring the Amityville Highland Pipe Band, the Backstage Studio of Dance from Port Jefferson Station, the InishFree School of Irish Dancing from Massapequa, the Longwood Choral Lions and more. The parade ends at the Village Center on East Broadway where the opening ceremony takes place at 11:40 a.m.
Pickwick’s Puppet Parade closes the festival on Sunday at 5 p.m. containing up to 10-foot tall ghost puppets of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future. The parade starts on Maple Avenue, heads down Main Street and concludes at the Village Hall on West Broadway for the closing ceremony at 5:45 p.m.
'CHRISTMAS CAROL,' MORE SHOWS TO CATCH
Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” starring Jeffrey E. Sanzel as Ebenezer Scrooge, gets two showings a day at Theatre Three, located at 412 Main St., on Saturday and Sunday at 3 and 7 p.m. (tickets $20-$35). Kids can enjoy an adventure with Santa’s littlest elf and his reindeer friend in “Barnaby Saves Christmas” at Theatre Three on Saturday at 11 a.m. (tickets $10). 631-928-9100, theatrethree.com.
Simple Gifts Productions of Stony Brook will present a new play, “The Elves and the Shoemaker” at First United Methodist Church, located at 603 Main St., Saturday and Sunday at 12:15, 1:30, 2:45 and 4 p.m. (tickets: $15 at the door).
PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES
Take a horse and carriage ride through the village on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. starting at 315 East Main Street near the Harborview Christian Church. Tickets ($7.09 per person) must be purchased in advance at eventbrite.com.
Visit Santa’s wife at Mrs. Claus’ Cookie Shop in the lower level of the Masonic Lodge, located at 312 Main Street, for some free freshly baked treats on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Get a photo with Santa and his elves at the Yuletide Tree Works on the second floor of the Village Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
Watch a movie at the Dickens Family Film Marathon at the Port Jefferson Free Library, located at 100 Thompson Street, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. There will also be readings of “A Christmas Carol” on Saturday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Design your own mini Mag-Lev sled and test it on a magnetic track at the Long Island Explorium, located at 101 E. Broadway, on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. ($5 per person).
CATCH LIVE PERFORMANCES
Experience the magical wizardry of Steve Rodman at the Masonic Lodge on Saturday and Sunday at noon, 1:20 p.m. and 2:40 p.m. ($5 per person). Witness “A Christmas Carol Radio Show” where the Dickens tale is performed as an old school radio program around a microphone at the Village Center Sail Loft on Saturday and Sunday at noon, 1:10 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. Dickens street performers such as Scrooge, Oliver Twist and the Town Crier will do skits at various locations around the village throughout each day. Musicians will perform 20-minute sets at Christ Church Episcopal, the Village Center, Chase Bank, Harborview Christian Church, First Presbyterian Church and other spots on Saturday and Sunday at different times.
SEE TRAIN DISPLAYS
Look at 32 decorated trees sponsored by several local businesses as part of the “Festival of Trees” on the second floor of the Village Center Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Train lovers can come see the Reed family’s massive model train layouts at Tiny Tim’s Train Station held at the Harbormaster’s Building, located at 130 W. Broadway, on Saturday noon to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Take in a live Nativity scene and bake sale at the First Methodist Church, located at 603 Main St., on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
26th ANNUAL DICKENS FESTIVAL
WHEN | WHERE 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, throughout the village of Port Jefferson
ADMISSION Free (certain activities have fees)