Some of the highlights of the Ulverston Dickensian Festival in 2006

The great-great-grandson of famous Victorian author Charles Dickens gave his stamp of approval to the Dickensian Christmas festival in Ulverston in 2006.

Gerald Dickens was the VIP guest at the Evening Mail sponsored festival this weekend.

Mr. Dickens has given readings in downtown pubs, cafes and bookstores.

He also gave his solo presentation of A Christmas Carol to an excited and grateful audience at Lanternhouse on Saturday night.

Dressed in a Victorian costume like his illustrious ancestor, Mr. Dickens joined the grand parade through the city before turning on the festive city lights.

The scent of roasted chestnuts wafted through the cobblestone streets as the spirit of Christmas lingered in the festival air.

The festival still attracts thousands of visitors and, in its eighth year, it did not disappoint.

Against an ideal backdrop of historic buildings and cramped ginnels, devotees and traders alike wore period costumes to bring Dickensian figures such as Scrooge, Fagin, Bill Sykes, and Oliver Twist to life.

As they made their way through the busy streets, crowds were entertained around every corner by marching bands, choirs and ensembles.

Chimney sweeps, smart ladies and smart gentlemen gathered to sit on bales of hay and listen to music in Market Square and County Square, while kids in Dickensian outfits playfully danced outside the special stages .

Singing organs dotted around the city created a festive atmosphere, while colorful market stalls selling local produce, sweets and crafts lined the streets where people feasted on roast pork and hot drinks.

A visitor, Andrew Bannister, 23, of Colne, said: “It was my first visit to the festival so I didn’t know what to expect but it was great to see so many people participating.

“Some of the costumes were exceptional. Walking around town was like walking through a Dickensian novel.

“Everyone really jumped into the spirit and it created a great, happy atmosphere.”

Dickens’ board member Jayne Kendall said: “There was a fantastic turnout, including the number of people who dressed up. It’s wonderful to see.”

The Mail was also on hand to take photos at the 2005 festival.

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