Victoria rules

Prince Charles has been getting attention further north, but in Oamaru this weekend it’s his great, great (do I need some more greats?) granny who  rules as the town  celebrates its Victorian heritage.

Charles Dickens is the them of this year’s celebrations which began on Wednesday.

Activities and events today include a vintage car swap meet, a street parade, a military black powder camp, high tea at Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Widow Corney’s Workhouse Shindig and Charles Dickens Performs A Christmas Carol.

Tomorrow celebrations conclude with the Victorian fete from 10am.

A day jam-packed with superb entertainment, dozens of stalls showcasing their unique and individual wares, exquisite Victorian costume, competitions to test strength and skill, street performers and children’s entertainment around every corner with food stalls and refreshments to whet every appetite. It has to be experienced to be believed.

Highlights this year will be Beyondsemble, just back from their world tour with their most exciting, energetic and enchanting acoustic music to come out of NZ in recent times. From gypsy to jazz, rocksteady to Celtic, Congo to bluegrass and beyond. Music to move you and make you move. With a strong improvisational edge, Beyondsemble perform an incredible mix of styles sourced from all over the world as well as their own original compositions.

And the incongruous Bikes for Fun. Over seventy bikes and scooters for the young and the young at heart which defy gravity and any thoughts of Victorian staidness! Fabulous fun!

Legend, humour and fiction surround the origins of Wellington perfumery Fragrifert which is coming to Oamaru for the Celebrations. But the fragrances are real and Fragrifert (pronounced frah-gree-fair) will delight visitors with live performances in the Harbour Street theatrette.

Watch out for Fagin and his mischievous band of rascals – they’ll burst into song and instead of picking your pocket, might leave a treat for you! You too could dress up as your favourite Dickens’ character and join in all the fun of the Fair!

The  celebrations started a couple of decades ago by a small group of enthusiasts  who wanted to showcase Oamaru’s Victorian heritage.

They’re now an annual fixture which attracts visitors from around New Zealand and further afield.

You can download a full programme here.

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