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Tickets are now on sale for the curtain-raiser to the Summer Festival,
The Rochester Dickensian Christmas celebrations took place on the weekend of December 2nd and 3rd 2017. The weather on the first day was sunny, and milder then the preceding few days. This led to what felt like a record turnout, which at times was quite uncomfortably crowded. Sunday was overcast but milder still, with large but more comfortable numbers of visitors.
One feature of Rochester High Street that has attracted comments from Dickens supporters around the world is the absence of the eighteenth century High Street clock. After a major refurbishment it made a hurried return to its proper place on the day before the festival. It was still surrounded by scaffolding, but it was telling the right time and should soon be visible in all its splendour.
The candle-lit parade and carol service outside the Cathedral was as always the high spot of the day; this year Canon The Rev'd Rachel Phillips led the proceedings with an endless supply of corny Christmas jokes. We ended with two verses of 'Jingle Bells'. The second verse ends up with the sledge running into a ditch and the occupants getting 'upsot', which can be read as either 'upset' or 'drunk' as the listener prefers! (more on Wikipedia)
Our album of the festival is in our picture gallery.
Angela Clark has published a huge album of excellent pictures on Facebook.
We have been sent an album of 81 pictures by Ian. You can download the images - you will be asked to register your email address, but nothing bad seems to follow! Ian has told us that some of his pictures were lost in transfer to the server. He has since added them, so he suggests that you might like to revisit his site.
You can see a video of the candle-lit parade on our new Facebook group page - anyone can see the page and if you join the group you can post your news and pictures there as well.
Scroll down the page or click here to see our 2018 festival news.
This 2017 Dickens Festival Mistletoe Ball took place in the magnificent Corn Exchange in the High Street on Saturday December 2nd.
The evening kicked off with a tremendous Christmas themed three course meal, followed by dancing with Tony Ellingham and his band 'Unit Five' in a wide range of styles.
The Summer Ball will take place on Friday June 1st - for more information scroll down or click here
We understand that the 2018 Rochester Dickens Festival will be a two day event on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd June 2018 (local half term week) and the Dickensian Christmas will be Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December 2018.
Can we help the City of Rochester Society? Yes we can! On August 13th we asked if anybody had a copy of the programme for the first Dickens Festival in 1979 for a history of the City of Rochester Society Rob Flood is writing. Within eight hours Mark Dennis had seen the request on our Facebook page, unearthed his copy and scanned it for us! Such is the power of the social network.
We are also trying to set up a picture archive for the festivals for this website. If you have anything from the early years please contact us.
An update on the Foshan trip from Elaine -
Sorry that the visit to Foshan China for the 2017 Autumn festival did not go ahead, I hope as we have a longer time frame to get things organised it will happen, I have been given dates of either 27th and 28th Oct or 3rd and 4th Nov, Dickens characters welcome, e.g. 2 sailors and their ladies, Fagin and Nancy, plus ballroom dancers( able to waltz ) 5 couples, 2 Victorian policeman, there will be 1 nights stay in Hong Kong going out and as many nights as you wish to stay after, these are at your ex spence as will visas and train fare to China , you will get discounted flights plus free accommodation and food in Foshan. If you'd like to know more please email me firstname.lastname@example.org,
We have now lost four good friends of the festivals since Christmas 2017. They are remembered on our 'Sadly Missed' page.
Dates for Dickens events in 2018