The Broadstairs Dickens Festival attracted thousands of visitors and boosted trade

Dickens Festival fun Photo Imelda Bell

Thousands of people took part in events and celebrations for the 80th Broadstairs Dickens Festival – and town businesses experienced a boost in trade.

The event, which ran from June 17-23, involved the whole town from the local high street competing for the best dressed window to local produce, vintage wares and gifts at the Country Fayre and events and performances at numerous venues.

Businesses benefited with a 30% uplift in trade compared to last year’s festival week, with some describing it as a “mini Folk Week.”

Photo Imelda Bell

The Grande Parade this year earned its name with over 200 people involved – aged 5 to 85 – and included tradition and a modern twist with Great Kentspectations Steampunks.

The living history entertainers also went down a storm with The Lamplighter half way up a ladder on the prom telling his tales and singing his ditties and the hilarious Voices from Victorian London that even had authentic fleas!

Festival organiser Denise Martin-Harker said: “We could not be happier with the result – our aim was to get the whole community involved and provide something that everyone could enjoy and that would benefit the town.

Photo Imelda Bell

“Local businesses really got behind the new look festival and the best dressed window caused much fun with the public taking photo’s of the creative endeavours and voting for their favourites.

“All of us involved in organising and delivering the festival are volunteers who care about the town and want to make it the place to visit, we already have people writing to us asking about next year!

Photo Imelda Bell

“The festival team would like to say a special thank you to all our sponsors who helped make it possible– Broadstairs & St. Peters Town Council, Kent County Council, Thorley Taverns, The Old Bakehouse, TMS Estate Agents , Hinge Greengrocers and The Offy.”

Broadstairs Dickens Festival in numbers

Photo Imelda Bell

11,000 visitors during the weekend

2,700 people attending each week day

40 stalls at the Country Fayre

22 events around the town such as Catherine Dickens Luncheons, Victorian Banquet, Films at The Palace, The Festival Play and an Elegant Afternoon Tea

180 people had A Cup of Tea with The Archers

15 performances at the Bandstand

20 events and performances at the Country Fayre.

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What you said:

Roy Irving: “It was a pleasure to help out in just a small way. You should be proud of a brilliant event that showcased Broadstairs and gave pleasure to so many people.”

Stef Lee: “The Dickens Festival team have done an amazing job this year and as a town we should all work together. Well done to all the shops that made a fantastic effort. It’s been a fantastic week and we’ve enjoyed meeting lots of new customers who have loved the festival and can’t wait to come back to Broadstairs.”

Georgine Manyweathers: “Well done to everyone that was involved, the windows look great all the way up the street. Normally the Chamber of Commerce choose the winner so it was good for the public to join in this year. We won last year and enjoyed being part of it again. Well done to all the Dickens Week team from The Angel Room.”

Parkland Estates: “The Dickens Festival has made us ‘mad as hops’ all week! Shame we have to wait another year for the next one! Who else enjoyed it?”

Photo Imelda Bell

Why wait for a year?!

If you cannot wait a whole year for the next Dickens related event Denise is organising ‘Harlots and Hangers On!’ on September 24 at The Pavilion in Broadstairs.

It will be an opportunity to enjoy an afternoon with the great great great grand-daughter of Charles Dickens, Lucinda Hawksley, and Hallie Rubenhold the author behind the successful ITV series Harlots that starred Samantha Morton.

They will be ‘In Conversation with Jane Wenham-Jones’ as they explore the 18th/19th century underworld and who influenced the great man – there may be some surprises in store!

Contact The Pavilion to book and for more details follow on facebook – https://m.facebook.com/BroadlySpeaking1/

and twitter @BroadlySpeaking