They say Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier every year, and that's particularly true in Myrtle Beach. Not only does the holiday celebration start before Thanksgiving, but this year an event even predates Veterans Day on the party calendar.
The 35th Annual Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals will be held Nov. 10-13 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, which is located only a few blocks away from The Breakers Resort. Guests can get into the Christmas spirit early this year by getting some holiday shopping out of the way while also enjoying all the exhibits on display in the 100,000-square-foot ballroom.
The Victorian Holiday Marketplace is the main attraction for savvy shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind items. From unique Christmas decorations to antique gift items, the shopping village includes an array of hand-carved toys and hand-sewn quilts to help you, your friends and your family members enjoy a Victorian-style Christmas. More than 350 vendors dressed in period costumes add to the atmosphere while displaying items such as jewelry, gifts, toys, arts and crafts, gourmet foods, and more.
But shopping isn’t the only attraction — the Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals features something for the whole family. Strolling Victorian musicians roam through the exhibit hall to entertain the crowd, and the "Santa through the Ages” exhibit offers a little history lesson with life-sized versions of the jolly ol' elf. The kids will love a visit from a real-life Santa, as well as "Punch & Judy" puppet shows, shadow box displays, Christmas goodies and a whole lot of other holiday-themed activities.
The Christmas Show & Festivals also features a popular Festival of Trees display that includes a variety of elaborately decorated evergreens. There are also exhibits of antique dinner tables outfitted with all the holiday trimmings and a display of ornamental wreaths. Another highlight is the Festival of the World exhibit, which gives visitors a firsthand look at how the holiday is celebrated all over the globe. You can even bid on a few of the items on display through a silent auction.
For a more relaxed holiday experience, check out the Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals’ Victorian Holiday Teas and Holiday Tours. Two luncheon-style sessions will be held Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a High Tea will be held Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. All teas include a seated meal of entrees, desserts and drinks while enjoying a one-man performance of "A Christmas Carol" by noted Shakespearean actor Howard Burnham, who tells the timeless tale of the good in every man.
This year's tour schedule revolves around the theme of Christmas in the Lowcountry, offering a firsthand look at how the folks of the South Carolina coast celebrate the holiday in their own unique style. Tour buses take passengers for one-day trips to Georgetown and Charleston to visit the historic sites. Scheduled stops on the Georgetown tour include the old rice plantations decorated for the season, and on the Charleston Museum & House Tour you can check out the inside of the beautiful mansions in the city.
The four-day event at the convention center will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Single-day admission is $9.50 for adults and $4.50 for children ages 2-12, or visitors can purchase a multi-day pass for $14. Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at a ticket rate of $7.50 for a one-day pass and $12 for multiple days. Tickets for the tours and teas are available at an additional charge. For more info, visit www.dickenschristmasshow.com.