Those beloved Victorian chimney sweeps will be sweeping into Port Jefferson this weekend, not to clean chimneys but to add a dusting of gritty charm to the 22nd annual festival celebrating the life, work and times of Charles Dickens.
They’ll be among 130 local residents garbed as a town crier, Father Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge and other Dickens characters to entertain festivalgoers at restaurants and in street plays based on the author’s classic stories.
As in festivals past, there will be ice skating at the scenic harbor front, concerts by local groups performing anything from traditional Christmas carols to Handel’s “Messiah,” and historic buildings will be decorated much like the settings in Dickens’ 15 novels and his famous 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol.”
“We convert the entire village into a Dickens stage,” Allan Varela, chairman of the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, says of the festival, which drew 25,000 spectators last year to downtown streets.
Here are highlights from this year’s 140 attractions:
GRAND EAST MAIN STREET OPENING PARADE
Candice Night, the lead singer with the Renaissance and folk-rock group Blackmore’s Night, reigns as the festival’s Snow Queen aboard the Port Jefferson Ferry float in the grand opening parade. Night, who lives on Long Island, performs original Christmas songs co-written with her husband, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore.
INFO 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2., East Main Street and Main Street to Port Jefferson Village Center
‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’
Theatre Three’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” is a 34-year holiday tradition. Artistic director Jeffrey E. Sanzel, who adapted the morality tale about the true meaning of Christmas, continues to play its surly main character.
INFO $35, $28 students and seniors, $20 ages 5-12; 7 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-3, through Dec. 30 at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., 631-928-9100, theatrethree.com
Five artisans, including a blacksmith, a weaver and a candle maker clad in 19th century garb, will be using antique tools to demonstrate how goods were made in Dickens’ time.
INFO Noon-5 p.m. Saturday Dec. 2 and noon-4 p.m. Sunday Dec. 3 at the farmers market lot, corner of East Broadway and Main Street
‘FROZEN’ WINTER WONDERLAND
The festival’s new attraction features music, a trivia contest and locals dressed as the “snow sisters” and other characters from the blockbuster Disney film. Chug over to the main library for a display of Dickens-era model trains. The Friends of the Port Jefferson Free Library host a hot chocolate bar in a Victorian-decorated room.
INFO 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, at The Port Jefferson Free Library Cottage, East Main Street
TINY TIM’S TRAIN STATION
The Port Jefferson Station-based Reed Family Train Project displays model trains from its extensive collection on decorated tables.
INFO Noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, and noon-4 p.m. Sunday Dec. 3 at the Harbormaster’s building, 326 Main St.
THE GIANT PUPPET PARADE
The ghosts of Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future come to life in puppets created by the Comsewogue and Mount Sinai High School robotics teams. The 75-member Longwood High School marching band provides the tunes.
INFO 4:50 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, along Main Street at Theatre Three to Village Hall on West Broadway
22nd Annual Charles Dickens Festival
WHEN | WHERE Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 2-3, throughout the village of Port Jefferson
INFO 631-473-5220, portjeff.com/dickens