What the Dickens?

In 1843 Charles Dickens wrote the iconic A Christmas Carol and brought the concept of Christmas spirit into popular fiction. This timeless piece of literature underscores the celebration of life and love, friendship and family that is so central to the human side of Christmas and can be so easily shared with the other seasonal celebrations going on this time of year.

Celebrating the Christmas spirit in Fernie, The Arts Station is proud once again to present the month-long, annual What the Dickens festival. Courtney Baker, Executive Director and festival creator says this is a “celebration of community and Christmas, and a thank-you to everyone who supports The Arts Station throughout the year.” The brand new Community Advent Calendar will provide a new piece of Christmas-themed art every day from Dec 1 to 24 to keep the theme alive. Watch for the wooden books appearing in businesses around town, each one will represent a different advent window to be opened on a designated day. Local artists have provided all artwork and this new addition to the festival is sure to be an annual feature.

Music is central to the festivities, from weekly coffee shop sessions to free concerts at the Arts Station. Jingle Jams are held 2-4pm and begin at Mugshots on Saturday, December 7 with festive duo Van & Shelagh; on Saturday, December 14, join the angelic Hark Raving Sirens at the Fernie Heritage Library and finish up at Beanpod on Saturday, December 21 with the cherubic Adam Doka. Shred Kelly and the Fernie Chamber Orchestra will return on Monday, December 9 and Wednesday, December 11, respectively, with charming renditions of Christmas favourites and a few special treats. Vancouver-based B3 Kings are an exciting addition this year on Tuesday, December 17. With a funky festive jazz sound, their world famous recording A Cellar Live Christmas was called “one of the greatest Christmas recordings ever” by jazzreview.com. The Musical Nativity Christmas Show will feature traditional themes with a twist – don’t miss this creative, community event on Friday, December 20. All concert events are free, but due to popularity, tickets are required- pick yours up at the Arts Station before they run out!

Christmas crafts are a highlight of the festival. The Arts Station will be dressed to impress thanks to the Deck the Walls exhibit and sale of work. Pick up a special piece as a gift or decoration to help celebrate Fernie artists this Christmas. All items are conveniently priced at under $100, so there’s sure to be a great bargain available. Feeling inspired to create some of your own gifts this year? Try Art Tapas on Friday, December 6. This fun, interactive evening is always a huge success and while this is one of the few events with a price tag, you’ll find it’s worth every penny of the $65 ticket. Appies and a glass of wine are included, as well as all materials for you to sample a range of artistic pursuits including pottery, felting, painting and more. Kids can get in on the action at the Free Clawhammer Letterpress Christmas Card Workshop on Sunday, December 8 or at the Felted Ornament Workshop on Friday, December 13. Spaces are limited for workshops so make sure to sign up in advance.

Each year special events are also included, and the Christmas Film and Shortbread Showdown have become highly anticipated features. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a deconstruction of the Santa Claus Myth from those quirky Finnish folk. While violent, (R rated) this film will leave you feeling oddly Christmassy – catch it on Tuesday, December 10. Show off your best shortbread or drop by and sample some delights on Sunday 22 – the perfect pit stop to grab a little energy boost as you finish your Christmas shopping downtown. Celebrate the season this year with The Arts Station and all of the wonderful What The Dickens events.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish my readers a very happy Christmas and thank you for all the kind complements, comments and support I’ve received for my Fernie Fix columns. After more than three years, this is my final events column but I’ll be back in January with an exciting new feature and I can’t wait to share it with you all!