Old traditions with a new twist

by Andrew Goodell

The annual Dickens of a Christmas event on Indianola’s square featured musical groups from Simpson, living windows and food venders as usual. But it had a new theme.

“This year we’re doing the theme, ‘Christmas Around the World,'” said Abbie Sutherland, the Indianola Chamber of Commerce events manager.

Dickens of a Christmas is traditionally a Victorian-style event, but for this year’s 11th-annual celebration, the international theme was added.

“They did the same thing every year,” Sutherland said. “This year’s event draws people from out of town to shop in Indianola.”

Participating businesses decorated their windows with the traditional Christmas adornments of the nations they represented.

“We researched how other countries celebrate Christmas and the windows [in the Indianola Town Square] reflect that,” Sutherland said.

Among the participating businesses were Painted Pony representing Russia, Indianola Vision Center representing Jamaica, and Taylor Financial Group/Taylor Floral & Gifts representing Denmark.

“Each business represents a country although some have been sort of ‘bah humbug’ about it,” Sutherland said. “Businesses take it upon themselves to participate. We sent letters to schools, churches and other organizations so they would take part in Dickens of a Christmas.”

Initially slated to perform as part of Dickens of a Christmas, the Delta Delta Delta sorority was unable to participate this year as they had done in past.

“We are not doing Dickens this year because of another philanthropy event,” said senior and president of Delta Delta Delta, Sarah Meyer.

Meyer said the event was worthwhile when she’d done it in the past.

“Dickens of a Christmas is a time for us to get involved with the Indianola community,” Meyer said. “It’s something that we have had a lot of fun with each year. It brings us together and we get to spread the holiday spirit in Indianola.”

Simpson’s Revelation Singers performed on the east side of the square while the Pi Beta Phi sorority sang on the north side.

Food venders at Dickens of a Christmas included the Indianola Lioness Club selling gingerbread cookies and popcorn balls, National Balloon Classic selling Irish coffee and potatoes and Mount Calvary Lutheran Church selling “Old Thyme Stew.”

This year’s Dickens of a Christmas celebration didn’t stop with international food, decorations, and singing. The community also got to view an old-fashioned hearse.

The Overton Funeral Home provided the classic hearse and was among 21 businesses that contributed funding to Dickens of a Christmas. The major sponsors this year were Union Planters Bank and the Indianola Chamber of Commerce.

Although the international theme was a new addition to this year’s Dickens of a Christmas, it stuck to tradition on its date.

It was held from 6-8 p.m. on the first Friday night of December, the same date it’s been held on for more than a decade.