Dickens Fest rocks Riverside

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By Khai Le

Old fashioned fun (Khai Le)

By Khai Le

February 1-3 brought about an air of old school sophistication throughout downtown Riverside.

This was because the annual Riverside Dickens Festival had come back to town. For three days local residents had a glimpse, and a taste, of life in the 19th century.

The Riverside Dickens Festival celebrates the life and works of author Charles Dickens.

Dickens lived through 19th century England, where he wrote well known books such as, “A Tale of Two Cities” and “A Christmas Carrol”. This year’s theme for the festival was “Oliver with a Twist,” highlighting the book “Oliver Twist” and its characters.

Reenactments of selections from the book took place throughout the streets.

One of the main attractions to the event was the Gordon Highlanders demonstrating a firing drill complete with a gatling gun.

Activities went on all day starting at ten in the morning and lasted well after eight in the evening.

Students from Martin Luther King High School won a competition among local high schools and performed “Oliver Twist” on stage.

Later on in the day, “A Christmas Carrol” was performed by students of Citrus Hills Middle School.

The festival brought out many costumed attendees wearing Victorian era clothing, varying from rich colors, decorated with laces and ribbons to the ol’ town drunk with tattered garments. Inside the Riverside

Municipal Auditorium was a fashion show highlighting clothing of that period.

To top the night, a costumed ball took place.

Unfortunately, rainfall caused much of the planned events for February 3 to be cancelled. However, people were still out in full costume with enthusiasm and hope for a fulfilling day.

The singing groups “Belles of Bedlam” and “Sportive Tricks” were singing under a balcony to shield themselves from the rain. Attendee Susan Abernethy said that people started wrapping up around 11am, but that there were “still some silly people hanging around.” The planned fashion shows and plays for the day were moved inside the Riverside Municipal Auditorium.

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