Holly: A Community of Festivals
The Holly Dickens Festival is the oldest and longest running Dickens Festival in the United States. It is now in its 41st year! The festival takes place in Historic downtown Holly and spans three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It kicks off with an evening, lighted parade. Following is the arrival of Santa Claus for the traditional tree lighting ceremony. Throughout the festival, many forms of entertainment can be found, including: horse-drawn carriage rides, caroling, street sweeping contests, newspaper peddlers, vintage photos, and more. Of course, being the Dickens Festival, one of the reoccurring activities that can be seen on Main Street is an abridged version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. You can also find many characters walking around in character all during the festival.
On the festival’s closing weekend, there is a race, called “Run Like the Dickens”, a 10K run, 5K run/walk, and “Tiny Tim Trot” kids race, so that all ages may participate.
Holly’s Renaissance Festival began nearly 40 years ago in Clarkston, Michigan and attracted 11,000 patrons during its 5 weekend event. Years later, it was moved to its current home on Dixie Highway in Holly, Michigan. In its current location, it regularly attracted more than 250,000 visitors from not only Michigan, but surrounding states and Canada too, in its now 7 week duration annually. Inside the gates of the festival sits 17 acres of a Renaissance-style, 16th century village of “Hollygrove”. There are reproductions of shops, taverns, and even a castle. Throughout the streets entertainment takes place, with the people of the village ranging from peasants to royalty. Many of the villagers also interact with the patrons who attend. There are also 17 themed stages. These stages are home to acts such as jousting, music, games, and comedy shows.
In the marketplace found in the village, patrons can find many food options, including Scotch eggs, fresh baked goods, and the famous turkey legs that are cooked over an open flame. There are also artisans of glassware, leather, jewelry, and clothing who often share skills in craft demonstrations.