Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Mannequin’

Magical Sleigh Ride

Waiting at the theaterTap, tap, tap! Sitting on a cold bench outside the theater, Katherine tapped her foot impatiently waiting for the show to begin. Dressed in a warm cape with a red knit scarf around her neck, the winter chill didn’t bother her. The Christmas season always brought her out to watch the crowds pass on their way to shop for the holidays. But Katherine didn’t need to shop for anything, she only wanted to see the Christmas show.

While she waited, she heard the clip-clop of horses’ hooves on the pavement.  Riding in a horse and sleigh would be more fun than playing charades at a party, thought the young lady. The second time she heard it, she jumped from the bench and moved quickly to the side of the street.

“Any chance you could pick up a lady for a short ride?” Katherine smiled as she approached the driver of the sleigh.

“Usually people pay to ride, but I’m in the Christmas spirit tonight so let me help you up here.” Then the driver wrapped a warm blanket around her legs before they headed off on an adventure.

Katherine and the sleigh just seemed to float over the town almost like a magic carpet with sleigh bells attached.  She could look down and see all the mannequins along the street. There were those beautiful courthouse lights she had heard so much about but had never seen.  Katherine’s laughter warmed the air as she pleaded with the driver, “Could you circle around again so I can see those lights a little better. Slow down!”

The driver settled the sleigh softly on the roof of the bank building. Then he watched with Katherine as they enjoyed the beautiful courthouse with pulsating Christmas lights synchronized to holiday music.

Later as they drifted over the city, Katherine was as excited as the kids at a chestnut roasting. Her heart skipped a beat as they swooped down around the frozen Salt Fork Lake. The dazzling snow-capped firs and pines were the perfect hide-out for a family of deer. The snow glistened in the moonlight creating a magical feeling in the air.

Mannequin still waitsThe evening flew by with Katherine feeling like a young girl again. Happiness like this was a priceless treasure even though she knew it would soon end. As the sleigh came back to the theater, it dropped down to the street and the clip-clop of horses’ hooves was heard once again. Katherine sat back down on the bench and waited with the ticket still in her hand. Perhaps that ticket will bring her more magical happenings in the future. But for now, Katherine is again the mannequin that sits on the bench in front of the theater, hoping the passers-by will enjoy their walk through Dickens Victorian Village.

Story Behind the Story

Being a volunteer at Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge, Ohio brings me lots of pleasure. A few weeks ago, however, one of  the mannequins was stolen from the bench in front of the theater.  Strangely enough, the next day she was back on her bench. Another volunteer, who knows I enjoy writing stories, suggested that I create a story about her adventure while she was gone.  Hope you enjoyed Katherine’s little sleigh ride!

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Dickens Mannequins on the Move Volunteers Make It Possible

What is a volunteer? Although this isn’t a Webster’s Dictionary definition, Margaret Mead seemed to understand the role of volunteers when she said:

Never doubt that a small group of thankful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

In the small town of Cambridge, Ohio, a group of volunteers may not have changed the world, but definitely have changed the face of Cambridge during the months of November and December. Over 200 volunteers work almost year round to make Dickens Victorian Village a big success.  As the director would say, “It takes a village to run things.”

After the Restoration Team worked at Dickens Universal all summer long to make and repair heads and bodies, fix or replace clothing, and even build whole new scenes, finally the day arrived to move them to Wheeling Avenue for Dickens Victorian Village.  This is no easy task to move 186 mannequins. Some of them were moved on an old trolley that was given to the village, while others were hauled on trailers.

Wonderful volunteers lined up inside Dickens Universal while mannequins were loaded onto the trailers behind their trucks and vans.  Usually this is done on the weekend, but due to Hurricane Sandy this year, it was delayed. So men appeared after work to load their trailers and take them to the appropriate spots in downtown Cambridge. Keeping them in order wasn’t a big problem as they are stored in order at Dickens Universal.  It’s a long warehouse and there’s enough room to make it appear like a walk down Wheeling Avenue – just not as much sidewalk in between!

Once downtown, finishing touches had to be made. Skirts were attached around all the scenes, most containing more than one mannequin. Then everything needed to be securely attached as a caution from further wind storms. Long metal rods were placed beside some mannequins to hold them in place.

But when it is all finished, the volunteers have a sense of pride in their long year of hard work to make downtown Cambridge have a festive air.  Even though the hurricane had made its way north, rain still fell for the entire time of mannequin invasion.  One of the new scenes, The Blacksmith, was getting its first taste of being out in the weather.

Take a walk downtown to enjoy a look at days of old. Each scene has a descriptive plaque telling a little history of that particular scene. For the volunteers, work doesn’t stop here.  During the Dickens Victorian Village season from Nov. 2 – Jan. 5, the restoration team checks on mannequins daily repairing costumes, reattaching loose items, or sometimes even changing costumes completely.  These people really care about appearances and are very particular about each scene. Yet they have lots of fun working together! As Tiny Tim might say: “God bless them every one.”

Dickens Victorian Village is open in downtown Cambridge, Ohio from Nov. 2 to Jan. 5. Cambridge is easily located as it is at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 in beautiful Southeastern Ohio.  Perhaps you will get a chance to visit this holiday season and feel the Magic of Dickens in the air.

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