The Heritage Foundation is excited to reveal that American Idol winner Kris Allen will be performing as part of Dickens of a Christmas in Historic Downtown Franklin on Saturday, December 13! In its 30-year history, this is the first time Dickens of a Christmas has hosted a headlining act on its stage.
Allen, who recently self-released his third album titled “Horizons,” will perform on Saturday from 3:45-4:30 p.m. on the Public Square Stage. Attendees can look forward to a soulful performance from the pop-rock singer-songwriter who will entertain the crowd with songs from his recent repertoire, including the new Christmas single, “Baby, It Ain’t Christmas Without You.”
Produced by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, Dickens of a Christmas transforms the streets of historic Franklin into a Victorian Christmas set for two days every December. This free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 13, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 14.
In addition to the scheduled performances on the stage near City Hall, Dickens will feature live entertainment at the intersection of 4th and Main Street, at Five Points, inside the Historic Franklin Presbyterian Church and on other locations along Main Street. One of the hallmarks of Dickens is costumed characters interacting with visitors on the street and this year will mark the return of Scrooge bellowing his “Bah! Humbug”, the nefarious Fagin, and English Bobbies (who are actually Franklin Police Officers on duty in costume). Guests may even run into a ghost of Christmas Past, Present or Future, Tiny Tim Cratchit or the Father of Christmas himself. More than 200 volunteers in costume will attend the festival.
In addition to the long-standing traditions involved with Dickens, some new features have been added to this year’s event:
For the first time, the public is invited to participate in two town sings. Guests will gather at the Public Square stage starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday; Sunday’s town sing will take place in the Historic Presbyterian Church on Sunday, also at 4:30 p.m.
“Dickens of a Christmas has become a tradition for many families who come to enjoy the memory-making moments of the weekend,” said Krista Dial, festival coordinator with the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County. “It’s a nostalgic time that offers a glimpse into what life could have been like on Main Street during the Victorian era.”
Attendees can also expect to enjoy Victorian-themed fare, including traditional English offerings such as bangers and mash, shepherd’s pies, and fish and chips—and of course, roasted chestnuts and sugar plums.
Other activities include:
- Horse-drawn carriage rides on 3rd Avenue South for $2 per person.
- A Holiday Bazaar arts and crafts area that stretches down Franklin’s charming Main Street.
- Violinists, hand bell choirs, carolers and even a water harmonica player all add to the entertaining street scene.
- A Victorian costume contest on Sunday at 3 p.m.
- Various photo opportunities around Main Street, one of which will include snow.
Last year more than 50,000 people attended the two-day occasion, which has been listed as a Top-20 event in the Southeast by the Southeastern Tourism Society.
“We are thankful for our dedicated staff members and volunteers who help drive the Foundation’s mission by producing these annual street festivals,” said Mary Pearce, executive director of The Heritage Foundation. “The hundreds of thousands of people who attend them each year are able to see how making preservation a priority has given us a remarkable Main Street landscape. Plus, our streetscape and restored Victorian architecture has given attendees a much more authentic Dickens experience than what we had three decades ago!”
The two-day weekend street festival is produced by the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County and its division, the Downtown Franklin Association, which seek 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.