3-day fest promises ‘Dickens’ of a time

The life of Charles Dickens will come to life this weekend with Joplin’s first Dickensfest. For the last six months, workers and volunteers have been setting up life-like buildings, working on donations, and signing up volunteers to bring the spirit of Christmas to Joplin. People will be able to experience the times of one of the most famous Christmas stories, “A Christmas Carol”, written by Dickens.

A member of the Historic Murphysburg Preservation Group had done a Dickensfest event before at a previous church and brought this idea to the Joplin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, who gave a $12,500 grant to start this event. The group is dedicated to preserving Joplin’s oldest downtown neighborhood through education and community.

The Dickensfest is a free event for all ages. The three day festival will have attractions for everyone – luminaries and winter lights, art walk, face paintings, costumed Dickens characters, carolers, petting zoo, live nativity scenes, featured concerts each night and more. There will also be a small fee for carriage rides.

President of the Historic Murphysburg Preservation Board, Paula Callahan, has been hard at work and anxiously waiting the start of Dickensfest.

“There is a lot to do. There is a lot of action,” Callahan said. “I hope this rekindles the meaning of Christmas to the young kids.”

The workers and volunteers that have dedicated themselves to bringing this spirit of Christmas to Joplin have had meetings every two weeks for months. Their goal has been to bring families together to celebrate the holidays and bring the Dickens era to life, and make sure it’s not forgotten.

“I hope it’s going to be the magic of having the sets in the street and people with their families. It will be like an old-fashioned Christmas,” Callahan said.