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Expanded Dickens and parade coming to Dundees this week

Decorations are displayed trees thwere part Festival Trees event Grafelman Park West Dundee Saturday. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media

Decorations are displayed on trees that were part of the Festival of Trees event at Grafelman Park in West Dundee on Saturday. | Andrew A. Nelles~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 26, 2012 6:31AM

WEST DUNDEE — In 1988, as downtown West and East Dundee businesses struggled against the competition from Spring Hill Mall, local business owners had an idea: Bring people downtown for an event called “Dickens in Dundee,” with Christmas carol singing and “Tiny Tim’s crutch” hidden inside a local store.

Twenty-five years later, on the 200th birthday of author Charles Dickens, the volunteer committee that now organizes the annual festival plans the most ambitious one ever on Friday evening, Nov. 30 and all day Saturday, Dec. 1.

The Dundee Jaycees, who have since disbanded, organized Dickens in Dundee from 1995 until 2005. The Villages of East and West Dundee and a committee of community volunteers took the reins in 2006 to keep the event alive.

Dickens in Dundee is now planned by a volunteer committee with support from the Village of West Dundee.

This year, according to announcements from the committee, the event will add horse-drawn sleigh rides, a Christmas dinner at Randall Oaks Golf Club and children’s games to such traditional favorites as the annual Living Windows display, Spirit of Christmas parade and activities inside most of the villages’ churches.

The fun will begin on Friday night with the official village tree lighting ceremonies at 6 p.m. at The Depot on North River Street in East Dundee and at 7 p.m. at the West Dundee Village Hall, 102 S. Second St.

The Living Windows displays, with people dressed in holiday roles, will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in downtown West Dundee business windows.

Meanwhile, Santa Claus will hold court in the West Dundee Village Hall from 6 to 8, and “Fezziwig’s Family Festivities” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Emmett’s Tavern, at 128 W. Main St.


Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. with the Spirit of Christmas Parade. It will begin at Main and Second Street in West Dundee, proceed eastward across the bridge, then turn down North River Street to The Depot.

That will be followed by a bevy of activities from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Grafelman Park, at Main and Fifth streets in West Dundee, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, Christmas tree sales, a festival of decorated trees, a Santa’s workshop, a petting zoo and a “community giving tree” at which people may donate hats, gloves, scarfs and nonperishable food for the less fortunate.

Also scheduled Saturday are:

Sweets and Crafts Shop, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 318 W. Main.

Cookie Walk, Bazaar and Nativity Walk, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 900 S. Eighth St. (Route 31).

A Dickens of a Christmas Sale, sponsored by Dundee Township Historical Society, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 410 W. Main St.

Gingerbread Village (make your own gingerbread house), 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church.

Bethlehem’s Kitchen (soup, sandwiches and cocoa), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Children’s Games, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Children’s House Montessori, 417 W. Main St.

Nativity Walk, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 310 E. Main St.

Reading of “A Christmas Carol,” 1:30 p.m. at The Mansion Bed & Breakfast, 305 W. Oregon Ave.

“A Christmas Carol” movie, shown at 3 p.m. at Fox River Valley Public Library, 555 Barrington Ave.

Dickens’ Christmas Dinner, 5 to 8 p.m. at Randall Oaks Golf Club, 4101 Binnie Road. Tickets are $40 and must be reserved in advance at 847-426-5661.

For more information about each event and a complete schedule, see

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