This last Sunday my family and I attended The Holly Dickens Festival. It is a lively celebration that the quaint village of Holly puts on every Christmas beginning in late November. Since I tend to hibernate in the winter, I needed to get out and break up the monotony of our own home routine. The Holly Dickens festival seemed like a lovely family field trip to do just that and compliment our Advent this year.
So we went and now I am sharing our experience with you.
Tip: Set your GPS to the Holly Elementary School to avoid the busy downtown parking. It offers free event parking and uses a shuttle throughout the festival.
The first place that we stopped in was the Detroit Model Railroad Club. I honestly could go on and on about what my children learned from this experience. Like the basics of train engineering but the video really shows you so much more.
We went with my Aunt and Uncle plus their grandchildren and my second cousins. In total, we had four adults and seven children with us. The model trains captivated all of our attention. There is so much focused detail put into this model train and it’s size takes up the entire first floor. It doesn’t just seem like a hobby but rather an art.
This part of our days adventure sparked an interest in trains with my youngest. Which led to a desire led lesson on trains using books from the library. Thank you Detroit Model Train Club.
I personally didn’t get to experience much food. We stopped on the way which was a mistake as my eyes lingered over the cashew stand. Plus, they have the Historic Holly Hotel with a restaurant inside. A skim over the menu with a glimpse through the door let me know it was enough to wait to eat.
Now some of my readers know that we do not teach our children that Santa is real. We celebrate advent. This is a personal choice and I also know some of my readers do the same thing. I want you to know that they have a tented area decorated in typical Christmas fashion. They have a Santa Clause who is genuinely friendly with children. We tell our children ahead of time that that this is a game most play during Christmas time. Our focus is Christ but if we find ourselves in a situation like this then it is ok to participate in the game.
My oldest still found it magical and enjoyed Santa’s village. They provide various areas for photo taking and they have an area where the children can write to Santa. After writing the letter your child puts it in a special mail box. A tube comes up from behind the mail box and loops around into a pretend cloud. Each time a letter is put in a musical sound is made leading your child to believe the letter was sent to Santa.
If this sounds too much for you then avoid it. If it doesn’t bother you at all than you would probably love it. Outside of Santa’s village several outdoor games are offered. For example, bowling lanes constructed from wood with pins and bean bag toss etc. Our favorite part was the makeshift sledding hill.
(Her face is priceless)
They have a manufactured sledding hill so even if there is no snow you can still go sledding. Although, I am sure the snow makes it ten times more fun. It is paid by donation and our combined seven kids enjoyed it endlessly. We had to drag them off of it.
The festival includes various types of skits, dances, shows and of course a interactive play of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. These young ladies are chimney sweepers that performed a dance routine. All the performers are volunteers. They are scattered throughout the festival, speaking in English accents, each playing a role until their part in the next show comes up. I enjoyed the young actor to the right the most. She brought a lot of personality to the dance routine. She radiates confidence and added flare to the show.
Horse Drawn Carriages
Yes! Yes! Yes! I love the enchantment of a horse drawn carriage ride. From what I could observe they had two, a mother and son. The horses were incredibly friendly as were their keepers. My children were permitted to pet their heads. Doesn’t a horse drawn carriage ride through a quaint village just give you the Christmas spirit? Throw in some hot chocolate, Christmas carols, and make the whole event perfect.
Now that I’ve experienced the Holly Dickens Festival we would definitely go back. There was actually more that they offered but we just didn’t have time to do it all. They even had wedding vow renewals conducted by “The Queen.” Now, I am waiting for my promised Hawaii vow renewal but I can see it being a sweet moment for others looking to make the night extra special. This can also be a local historical lesson that your child will gain just off the experience as well as little quips the town’s residents mix in.
What do you think? Would you go to The Holly Dickens Festival?