Reading or watching Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" has to be near the top of holiday traditions for many.

For the last 29 years, Mount Hope Estate & Winery has twisted that tradition into one of its own.

During "A Dickens of Christmas," characters from the novella - and Dickens himself - throw a theatrical party in the Victorian mansion of the estate.

Artistic director Mark Sullivan said the script changes each year, but the format stays the same: It's three sketches in one show. The audience rotates from room to room to see each 23-minute performance.

Sullivan described the show as fun, wacky and upbeat - a comical take on the timeless holiday classic. Here's a rundown of what to expect.

Belle's Dating Game: Mrs. Fezziwig searches for a

potential husband for her beautiful, heartbroken daughter Belle - Scrooge's one-time girlfriend.

Sullivan said that act takes a very sad and poignant part of the story and puts a fun spin on it.

"I doubt Mrs. Fezziwig was running around trying to find a match for her daughter," he said.

A Different Christmas Carol: In this segment, Charles Dickens and Mr. Fezziwig portray multiple characters. Mr. Fezziwig plays all three ghosts, and Dickens plays Scrooge.

Sullivan said the sketch is tongue-in-cheek with modern references. For

example, Christmas Past is a hippie from the 60s. It pokes fun at the story, while staying somewhat true.

"It's kind of an irreverent approach to 'A Christmas Carol,'" he said.


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The Gift of the Magi: Mr. and Mrs. Cratchit bring O. Henry's classic tale of selfless acts of love to life. In the story, a young married couple struggle to buy secret gifts for each other while having little money.

Before the show, guests can dine at the Swashbuckler pub.

Sullivan said people enjoy looking at the decorations on the grounds and in the mansion and that the show has become part of the community's holiday.

"If you don't leave here with a smile on your face, something is wrong," he said.

- Leigh Zaleski,
FlipSide staff
If you go

WHAT: "A Dickens of a Christmas"

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today and Friday; 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (runs Wednesday through Sunday until

Dec. 23)

WHERE: Victorian mansion, Mount Hope Estate & Winery, 2775 Lebanon Road in Manheim, Lancaster County

COST: Children $9.95; adults $16.95 midweek and $18.95 weekend; for lunch and show $31.95; for dinner and show $42.95

DETAILS: Call 717-665-7021 or visit parenfaire.com