Dickens of a Christmas - December 9, 2011
A Christmas Carol was first published in December of 1843. It's writer, Charles Dickens, traveled through Ohio in 1842. Ohio Village is modeled after an Ohio county seat circa 1860. It's a perfect match -- plus or minus a couple decades. For four evenings and one afternoon, the village is decorated as it might have been in Dickens' day and characters from his Christmas tale take up residence there. Friday was the first of those evenings for 2011 and my first time attending. I felt I was probably in for a good time when I spotted Saint Nicholas chatting with a group of street urchins just a short time after entering the gate.

Seeing that I had just enough time to make the first performance of A Christmas Carol at the town hall, I ducked inside and delayed touring the village. I soon discovered that this would not be the normal stage play I was expecting but, as the program described it, an "interactive presentation". That meant that a director of sorts (That's him at the left of the first interior shot.) would select volunteers to "audition" for parts in the play. Not all ghosts were of equal height but all had a good time and the last picture shows all participants back on stage for a final "God bless us, every one!"

Back outside, I headed to the village green and found chestnuts roasting on an open hibachi. I've tried roasting chestnuts just once in my life and the results weren't all that tasty. This guy did a much better job and I actually enjoyed a chestnut for the first time ever. Hot coffee, chocolate, and cider were also available and the open fire wasn't just for show and warming chilled body parts. It was for popping popcorn which I promised myself I'd try then never did. Instead, I circled the green and found dancing at the female seminary, Saint Nick's blessing (followed by ghost stories) in the church, plum pudding samples at the farm house, and wassail at the tavern. I next purchased a big Christmas cookie from the general store and headed back to the town hall for some caroling. The cookie was good and the caroling even better. I'd been avoiding the furniture shop since, as is common in most small towns, the fellow who makes furniture also makes coffins and serves as undertaker. That made it a pretty likely spot to be haunted. Sure enough, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future were all hanging out there but I need not have worried. I doubt I could find three nicer ghosts anywhere.

Ohio Village is a great place for holidays. I joined the Fourth of July celebration here back in 2010.

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