Along with being the official beginning of the holiday season in Dundee Township, this year's Dickens in Dundee festival has added significance.
The year 2012 will mark the 25th year the two-day community party has been staged; it also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of its namesake, Charles Dickens.
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If you goWhat: 25th annual Dickens in Dundee festival
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1
Where: Grafelman Park and downtown West Dundee
Details: www.dickensindundee.org; (847) 551-3800
"And because this is a special year we have added some events," said Kim Tibbetts, one of the organizers and a West Dundee employee. "The horse-drawn sleigh rides will be offered again, and on Saturday night (Dec. 1) we'll have a Christmas dinner."
Also, the number of stores that will take part in the living holiday windows display in downtown West Dundee has been increased for Friday.
The festival will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, with a holiday tree-lighting ceremony in East Dundee at the Dundee Township Tourism Center, along North River Street. An hour later, West Dundee trustees will turn the lights on their holiday tree at the village hall, 102 S. Second St.
It will be followed by an open house that will serve as a warming center. Refreshments will be served.
The living windows display, with 17 West Main Street area stores and businesses participating, will begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 8 p.m.
A day full of activities will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with a Dickens of Christmas Sale at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in West Dundee. The Spirit of Christmas Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of Second Street and Route 72 in West Dundee. Marchers will walk east to North River Street in East Dundee and stop at the tourism center.
The sleigh rides will begin at 10:30 at Grafelman Park in West Dundee. The horse will take revelers through the village's historic neighborhoods.
Area churches will hold other holiday events of the entire family throughout the day. A list of those activities can be viewed at the Dickens in Dundee website: www.dickensindundee.org.
On Saturday, the Christmas dinner will be served from 5-8 p.m. at Randall Oaks Golf Course, along Randall Road. Tickets cost $40 each. They can be purchased at Randall Oaks. The theme of the dinner will be set in the time period in which Dickens lived. Diners are encouraged to dress in the time period.
For details, call the golf course at (847) 428-5661.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Special Olympics Illinois.
"This festival really a community effort," Tibbetts said. "The village of West Dundee may sponsor it, but it could not be possible without the help we receive from the churches and the groups like the Dundee Lions Club."
For details, call (847) 551-3800.