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Visitors to the Kent seaside this weekend are likely to cross paths with the likes of creepy Uriah Heep and the grimly fading bride Miss Havisham.
Vivid costumes and colourful eccentric characters will plunge Broadstairs into a Victorian timewarp for the annual Dickens Festival.
It will run from Saturday, June 14, when the traditional celebration of author Charles Dickens returns to the town where he was a regular visitor from 1837 until 1859.
The festival, launched in 1937 to mark the centenary of Dickens’ first visit, will continue with its traditionally busy programme until Friday, June 20.
The fun starts with Saturday’s opening parade from Pierremont Hall at 2.30pm, processing to Victoria Gardens.
Another highlight will be the official Dickens play, The Mystery of Edwin Drood at the Sarah Thorne Theatre, Hilderstone.
There will be beach parties, Victorian music hall, a reading competition, Thanet Male Voice Choir concert, a Palace Cinema showing of the 1952 version of The Pickwick Papers and an elegant Dickensian traditional afternoon tea.
Victoria Gardens will be the backdrop for many more events with a Victorian country fair daily from 10am to 5pm and there will be plenty of musical entertainment on the bandstand.
The festival was started by Gladys Waterer who was resident at Dickens House in the 1930s. It was launched with a staging of David Copperfield, and publicised by people in Victorian dress around Broadstairs.
Apart from during the Second World War, the festival has been held annually in the third week of June ever since.
Festival programmes are widely available in Broadstairs shops and at the tourist information kiosk. Full details on the festival website: www.broadstairsdickensfestival.co.uk
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