December 08, 2010 Edition

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Dickens in the Park
continues to draw crowd

Wanda Black displays several Victorian items in the Grand Emporium, which was new to Dickens in the Park this year. The emporium portrayed a shop as it was during the Victorian era.
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

The Hoxie City Park was filled with holiday spirit on Saturday as local residents enjoyed a Victorian-Era setting during the Dickens in the Park event.

"I think it was a great opportunity for local people to come together and experience the season," said committee member Wanda Black.

Residents who attended the event enjoyed an old-fashioned Christmas setting. Victorian-dressed Christmas carolers strolled the park singing carols, while Ebenezer Scrooge, portrayed by Norman Moyer, greeted guests with "Bah, humbug!"

"I had the best time and I think everyone else did too," said Karen Williams, committee member. "It was wonderful!"

The event featured a re-enactment of Dickens's play "A Christmas Carol," which was directed by Frances Green.

Several local residents participated in the play including Tim Taylor, Charles Dickens; Bob Kary, Ghost of Christmas Past; Marlyn Tate, Ghost of Christmas Present; Ryan Crisler, Ghost of Christmas Future; Hunter Holt, Tiny Tim; Teddy Morris, Marley's Ghost; and the Cratchet family was portrayed by Blaine Davis, and family Nikki, Emoree and Drew.

A tea party, hosted by Carolyn Fowler and Nikki Davis, was also held, along with a sing-along for kids, hosted by Lidda Tinker. Queen Victoria, played by Bridget Russell, watched over Dickens in the Park festivities from her royal thrown.

"I thought it was very successful," said Teresa Lovelady, committee member. "We added more things to the event and I think it was more interesting for people who came out and see the event." More than 400 people attended this year's event.

Other entertainment included train rides and the Ye Old Emporium. Musical performances by the Hoxie Brass Band and the NEA Caledonians were also enjoyed.

"I think the hot chocolate, wassail and cookies were a big hit, but Santa was the biggest hit," Williams said.

Children were able to visit with the "real" Santa during the event and take pictures.

"That was definitely the real Santa," said Elijah Richardson, eight, son of Cindy Richardson of Walnut Ridge.

"This year's event was 100 percent better than last year's event," Williams said. "Things went more smoothly and everything was on time. We also had more people to help."

Several local church groups, organizations and individuals helped with the event. Churches, including the Hoxie Methodist Church and the Hoxie Baptist Church, provided free refreshments including homemade cookies and candy. The Lawrence County Republican Women also donated homemade cookies to the event.

Organizations who contributed to Dickens in the Park included Hays, Girl Scout Troup 3222, Overmen Buildings and Hometown Behavioral Health.

"I think everyone did a wonderful job decorating this year," said Lisa Williams. "The scenery and the costumes were wonderful. Everyone went above and beyond to make this event happen."

The Lawrence County Drug Court donated volunteers hung Christmas lights and decorated the park.

"They did so much to help us and were wonderful," Williams said.

Committee members for Dickens in the Park included Lisa Williams, Lovelady, Tinker, Kary, Karen Williams, Black, Katie Smith, Debbie Downing, Carrie Crisler, Sarah Tate and John Holt.

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