The little village of Skaneateles is getting ready for its most extravagant event of the year -- Dickens Christmas.
To get things started, the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce held a kick off party on Tuesday evening at M&T bank on East Genesee Street. The festival begins at noon Friday Nov. 29 at the Sherwood Inn and runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas.
"Tonight is really to say thank you to our sponsors," said Sue Dove, executive director of the Chamber.
Without sponsors, the event would not be possible because instead of just a few large sponsors, Dickens receives support from many companies on every level, from the little businesses to the large ones.
The early evening meet and greet, which was the Chamber's traditional November Business After Hours event for members, was co-sponsored by M&T and Verizon Fios. Anyela's Vineyards supplied a variety of wines from their cellar and Grammie's Pantry provided sweet treats for nibbling on.
According to Dick Pitman, president of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce, the bank has hosted the kick off party since the beginning of the Dickens Christmas run.
"It was an event started to kind of do a Victorian type celebration," Pitman said.
The festival has grown over the last 15 years it's been held and there are many individual events that are held during the Christmas festival.
Dove takes pride in the tiring work of putting the event together. Despite the hours and time put into Dickens, though, Dove spoke about the event with satisfaction.
"It's really two-fold," she said. "A lot of families that come back have made it part of their tradition. It's fun to hear all those kinds of stories."
Second, Dove said the festival has become a cherished event for Chamber and Merchant's Association members.