The fest’s quarter-century celebration will be centered on Dickens’ 13th novel, “Great Expectations,” featuring theatrical performances, pageants, music, speeches, historical recreations and children’s activities.
Festivities unofficially start Friday evening, when “Pickwick’s Pub Night” will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the First Christian Church on Jurupa Avenue. There will be a dinner theater murder mystery, singing and lots of ale, as well as fish and chips. Entrance fees are $45 to $55.
The festival formally begins at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the flag pole adjacent to Ninth and Main streets, in front of City Hall, where visitors will encounter actors representing Dickens, Queen Victoria, Bram Stoker, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, Thomas Edison, Emily Bronte, Mary Shelley and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — to name a few.
Join us at UC Riverside this Friday & Saturday to hear new research presented by @dickensproject graduate students at our annual Dickens Universe Winter Conference! #DUWinter18 pic.twitter.com/D8D7h77zjS
— The Dickens Project (@dickensproject) February 19, 2018
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oliver’s Alley will be open, featuring storytelling and songs, along with tea parties, balloon-making and children’s games.
A “grand parade,” populated by Dickens’ characters and other Victorians, will be staged along Main Street between 11:45 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
At 3 p.m., actor Paul Jacques will portray Dickens in a one-man show that recounts the famed scribe’s second visit to the United States in 1867.
Returning for the fifth consecutive year, “The Trial of Jack the Ripper,” a one-act play that examines the most likely suspects responsible for the grisly slayings on London’s East End, will be held at 4 p.m. in the Riverside Historic Courthouse.
Merchants will sell food and wares reminiscent of a 19th century London bazaar throughout the day, interspersed with caroling and dancing, along the mall.
Sunday highlights will include a “Dickens 101” talk by UC Riverside graduate student Miranda Steege at 10:30 a.m. in the Royal Victoria Theatre inside City Hall.
Also on Sunday, at 1 p.m., a re-enactor depicting Jules Verne will impart the triumphs and tragedies of the French novelist’s life. Two hours later, Rev. Sharon Sheffield will give a lecture on “Dickens and Victorian Christianity” at the Royal Victoria Theatre, and an Evensong is planned at 4:30 p.m. in the First Congregational Church, 3755 Lemon St., a couple of blocks from the festival hub.
The weekend-long event will close with parting words from the queen and the recreated Dickens about 5 p.m. outside City Hall.
More information on the fest is available at dickensfest.com.
— City News Service
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