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Celebrate ‘A Dickens of a Christmas’ the Victorian way at Mount Hope Estate & Winery


The best way to get into the holiday spirit is to do something holiday-ish, such as a party or a Christmas gathering. I suggest the Mount Hope Estate & Winery’s 27th Annual production of “Dickens of a Christmas.”Mount Hope Estate & Winery’s 27th Annual production of “Dickens of a Christmas.”

I used to work at the Renaissance Faire years ago, and haven’t been inside the Mt. Hope Mansion in Manheim, PA, in years, and it still looks elegant and beautiful as ever. Set apart of the faire grounds, the mansion sits regally aside, welcoming all who enter with dozen of lights, garlands, and trees, all with the Victorian theme.

As fellow P2P writer Diane Cooney and I walked through the beribboned doorway, we were immediately greeted by Victorian characters. We headed into the welcoming ‘parlour’ and bar, where we got some refreshments (read, wine) before the party was to start. This was a great place to welcome visitors, with a roaring fire and Christmas trees. Each room in the mansion was transformed into private theaters for the cast to perform for their guests. The Fezziwigs welcomed everyone into the Chapel, where we are introduced to the family, Mr. and Mrs Fezziwig and their kin, and the Peerbingles, along with Charles Dickens and Higgins the Butler.

The night kicked off with several verses of traditional Christmas carols as the cast stirred up everyone’s holiday spirit. “Cricket on the Hearth,” presented by Mr. and Mrs. Peerybingle, is the wonderful story of a newlywed couple who are visited by a delightful cricket and a interesting kind old man. They pulled a few people from the crowd, as audience participation is always required! This story was heartwarming, as well as funny.


After this performance, everyone was ushered into the dining room/parlor with the Fezziwigs,’ where we played Christmas charades (mine was kissing under the mistletoe!) and were told “The Child’s Story” about family and the love you share with them.

Then, we were invited to step into the Ballroom, where a reluctant Higgins and an enthusiastic Charles Dickens performed “A Christmas Carol,” which was absolutely fantastic. We all know the story of Scrooge and his overnight change of heart, but this sketch, performed by just two men, will keep you laughing and waiting for the next suspenseful moment.

This is a wonderful family and friend event, as the cast of Dickens invite you to their holiday house. Go, enjoy, feel the Christmas spirit, and party like it’s 1860.

Please don’t forget to stock up on the specialty Mt. House wines. Try the sangria..my personal favorite, along with the holiday wine. Get creative and mix up the Spiced Apple Wine and the Holiday Wine and serve warm. Yum!

The fresh and wonderful “A Dickens of a Christmas” runs through Thursday, December 23. Friday’s show time is 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday show times are 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m. Limited weekday shows are available with a show time of 1 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Adult admission is $21.95 weekends and $18.95 midweek. Admission for children, ages 5 to 11, is $9.95.

Seating is limited. Tickets can be purchased through the Virtual Box Office at www.PaRenFaire.com or by calling the Box Office at (717) 665- 7021.

Mount Hope Estate & Winery, placed on the National Register of Historical Places by the United States Government, is located on Route 72 1⁄2 mile south of Turnpike exit 266, 15 miles north of Lancaster and 14 miles east of Hershey.

Special Thanks to Candace Smith Communications/Educational Programs Director of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and Mt Hope Estate & Winery and Diane Cooney for the video work, and to the cast of ‘Dickens of a Christmas.’

Pictures Courtesy of Candace Smith.

Christine Tarlecki can be reached at engchik@comcast.net, and on FaceBook, and at http://engchik.blogspot.com, and on Twitter under engchik.