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Locals hanging with Charles Dickens!

The weather cooperated Friday Nov. 26 for the Dickens opening in Skaneateles. A few snowflakes fluttered down, as Charles Dickens (Jim Greene) thanked the late Karen Foltz for her inception of the Dickens Festival.

People flocked to the front steps of the Sherwood Inn from near and far to greet the Dickens characters as they arrived via the world's smallest Christmas parade. And ever since residents and visitors have interacted with Charles Dickens many characters from a "Christmas Carol" and beyond, which is staged every weekend during the Christmas season on the streets of the village.

"I was really brought back to those holiday feelings," said Shawn Quigley from Rhode Island, "Simply charming."

What's fun for locals is to see what residents are playing what characters

Ray Lessaongang, a Skaneateles Volunteer Firefighter warmed up the crowd for Charles Dickens entrance. Lessongang plays the backwoodsman George Washington Crockett, a friend to all and especially the squirrels.

Another local resident, Byron Lee is dashing and dignified as a young blacksmith, and all smiles, too.

Skaneateles' Chloe Strang has created the character of Eliza Jane Johnson, who works for the Skaneateles Pocket Cleaning Company. The company is directed by Mr. Fagin, a character from Dickens novel "Oliver Twist."

"It's very fun," Strang said of performing with the cast.

Charles Dickens and his cast of characters are directed by Jim Greene of Scarlett Rat Entertainment. They interact with residents and visitors in the streets, stores and restaurants no matter the weather. And before the show opens one can see them practicing around the village for several weeks before the curtain goes up.

Christmas Eve will be their last performance of 2010. And it always a smaller than usual show, as last minute shoppers flutter around the village.

There are other regulars

Brian Goldblatt who formerly played Mister Fagin, is now playing Jacob Marley. He has been happy to be back to his favorite haunting grounds. Ebenezer Scrooge (Bob Krigbaum) on the other hand has been less enchanted and his old sour self - especially with the ghost of Marley constantly on his heels.

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