Dickens of a Christmas – Saturday & Sunday, December 14-15, 2013
Dickens of a Christmas brings entertaining weekend to Historic Downtown Franklin
It’s a 29-year holiday tradition in Historic Downtown Franklin on the second weekend in December to travel back in time about 150 years to a Main Street from the time of Charles Dickens, and the tradition continues this year Dec. 14-15, 2013, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Dickens of a Christmas is a free street festival, is open to the public, and is expected to attract some 50,000 visitors over the weekend.
More than 250 volunteers participate in the event as characters from Dickens’ stories, vendors or street performers. Show up any time over the course of the weekend, and you’re sure to meet Ebenezer Scrooge, his unfortunate partner Marley (the ghost in chains), little Tiny Tim Cratchit and his family, and many more, including Father Christmas.
Anyone is invited to join the fun by showing up in costume and engaging with the characters on the street, or just come as you are and enjoy a beautifully preserved Main Street with more than 70 unique shopping and dining destinations in the 15-block National Register Historic District.
Activities include:
• Horse-drawn carriage rides around the Public Square for $2 per person.
• A holiday bazaar arts & crafts area encircles Franklin’s charming Public Square.
• Dancers and street musicians on Main Street throughout the event. Violinists, hand bell choirs, harpists, carolers and even a water harmonica player all add to the entertaining street scene.
• Costumed characters from Dickens’ stories interacting with visitors on the street. Scrooge bellows his “Bah! Humbug” while the Cratchit Family parades the streets with Tiny Tim. Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future make regular appearances. Urchins under the direction of the nefarious Fagin from Dicken’s Oliver pester English Bobbies (who are actually Franklin Police Officers on duty in costume). Father and Mother Christmas delight children.
• Victorian treats abound, from authentic fish ‘n’ chips to turkey legs, roasted nuts, kettle corn, roasted corn, roasted pork, sausages and sugar plums.
• Everyone is invited to join the Town Sing starting at the Public Square at 4:30 p.m. Sunday with candles ($1 donation requested) and song sheets.
Dickens of a Christmas is free and open to the public, presented by The Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association, which seeks to protect and preserve the architectural, geographic and cultural heritage of Franklin and Williamson County and to promote the ongoing economic revitalization of downtown Franklin in the context of historic preservation.
Getting there: From Interstate 65, take Exit 65 and head west toward Franklin for three miles on Highway 96/Murfreesboro Road/Third Avenue South, which runs into the Public Square at the heart of the festival. Turn right or left at Church Street as you approach the Square to access either of the two free parking garages on Fourth Avenue South or Second Avenue South. Additional on-street free parking is available.


National Recognition Keeps Coming For Downtown Franklin

photo by Jill Zientek
photo by Jill Zientek

Travel + Leisure Names Franklin One of “America’s Favorite Towns” and More

FRANKLIN, Tenn.– Travel + Leisure Magazine has named Franklin, Tennessee one of “America’s Favorite Towns,” following an online readers’ poll conducted last month. Coming in at #8 on the list, Franklin was included among other popular small-town tourism destinations such as Park City, Utah; Telluride, Colo.; and Amelia Island, Fla.

“There’s a festival for virtually every month of the year hosted in 18th-century Franklin’s brick-paved downtown—named among the country’s best by the National Trust for Historic Preservation,” the Travel + Leisure entry reads. “You might sample beer and Irish whiskey at the Main Street Brew Fest each March or bluegrass fiddling in late July, or join a Dickens-themed Christmas celebration. The town also ranked No. 3 for Christmas lights.”

The honor follows another T + L shout out, announced just last week: the publication ranked Franklin as the #18 on the “America’s Best Towns for Halloween“–citing the 30th Annual Pumpkinfest, Franklin Tomorrow’s Chili Cook-off, tour company Franklin on Foot’s actor-led ghost tours, and the Lotz House Civil War museum as viable reasons to journey to Franklin for the fall holiday. Poll results also show that readers voted Franklin the #7 “Friendliest Town in America.”

“These kinds of honors are a great reward for the efforts of so many people who work to make Franklin such a great place to live and work. Our Main Street program’s success is largely attributable to the business owners, and the passion they have for our community,” said Nancy Williams, Downtown Franklin Association (DFA) director. “It’s encouraging to continue to see Franklin being recognized as an authentic, eclectic place that offers something for everyone. Like we always say around here, downtown Franklin is 14 miles and 100 years from Nashville.”

In 1995, Franklin was honored as one of five “Great American Main Streets” in the inaugural annual competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since then, it has been recognized by various outlets with titles including “Best Small Town in Tennessee,” “America’s Most Romantic Main Street,” “One of America’s Greatest Antique Destinations,” and “Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation,” among others.

The DFA works in partnership with its members and the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County to protect and preserve the city’s cultural resources, and continues to help spearhead the revitalization of Franklin’s historic downtown core. Together, the two non-profit organizations organize and promote several festivals and happenings each year, including the upcoming Dickens of a Christmas, Dec. 14-15. For more information about the DFA’s work and the events it coordinates, go to www.downtownfranklintn.com.

To view Travel + Leisure‘s “America’s Favorite Towns” poll results, go to www.travelandleisure.com/toc.