Written by Dani and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger
Brainchild of Bob Ley, a local businessman, the Dicken's Victorian Village was his early concepts and sketches that turned Wheeling Avenue in downtown Cambridge into a display of scenes from Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol. Along with that these displays, the Guernsey county courthouse is emblazoned with lights, light shows synchronized with music early November until just after New Years Day. Every night through that time frame, the court house's automated light show dazzles and amazes with the strobing lights, paired with holiday songs both classic and modern.
Talking with some of the local residents, they informed us that it can take up to 18 hours of work to sync the light display with just one song. Each iteration of the "concert" lasts for 1 hour.
Stop into the visitor's center on Steubenville Avenue to see the wonderful staff there, get a gift, a scavenger hunt paper as well as a visitor's guide. If the visitor's center is not open, most of the shops will have the visitor's guides as well. This will help you navigate through the area.
This is one of those things that really need to be seen to be appreciated. There is no YouTube video or image that can truly express the fun that will be had by attending the Dicken's Victorian Village event. And there is no reason to miss it either! Cambridge, Ohio is only a 1 hour drive from the capital city Columbus. We have been to other Christmas light shows in Ohio and other states, but we believe this one is by far one of the most entertaining.
Check out the YouTube video that gives you a taste of the lights and music along of the Guernsey County Courthouse Holiday Light Show from our weekend at the Dicken's Victorian Village!
You will be outside, so make sure to stay warm! Dress for the weather. You'll want to spend at least an hour watching the show. It runs daily Early November through Just after New Years Day from 5:30pm to 9:00pm and later on some days until 11pm. Check the website link Seasonal Events for all the details.
Either before or after the light show, there are some great places to eat and shops to visit. Our favorites for food were Guernsey Kitchen, Kennedy's Bakery and Theo's Restaurant.
If you want to venture out a bit from the downtown, we also ate at The Bear Run restaurant. Excellent service and food there. It is one of the top rated eateries in the area as rated by TripAdvisor.
Some shops of note are Nothing But Chocolate and Penny Court Antique Mall.
We didn't forget about the scenes all scattered through downtown! We preferred to see them at night, lit up by the street lights. Walk up and down both sides of a long stretch of Wheeling Avenue and there are scenes from A Christmas Carol. All these mannequins are hand made locally. The artists start with a foam head, then apply a type of modeling clay like compound to sculpt the features, then paint and add details. The bodies are made of wooden frames, covered in bubble wrap, then clothed in their specific scene. More details about the process can be had at the visitor's center.
These scenes are all over the place. Some are in shop store fronts, others occupy the street benches while larger ones have their own custom made platforms.
No matter where you are in Ohio, we feel that this is a unique place to see. Given the fact that it runs every single day for 10 weeks gives you no excuse for not getting there and checking out this wonderful holiday treat and special small town. Cambridge has a decidedly vintage feel to it that lovers of this time of year will appreciate.