Dickens Christmas Extravaganza


Bedford Inn

805 Stockton Ave., Cape May


The Dormer House

800 Columbia Ave., Cape May


Henry Sawyer Inn

722 Columbia Ave., Cape May



Twin Gables B&B

731 Columbia Ave., Cape May



Queen Victoria B&B

102 Ocean St., Cape May


Welcome friends,

to Cape May's

annual Dickens

Christmas Extravaganza!



Dec. 8-10, 2019

There is no more perfect place to celebrate the holidays, as it transforms to a Victorian Christmas Village during this season!
Join members of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship and step into a world influenced by Dickens’ writings with noted Dickens scholar Dr. Elliot Engel as he brings history and literature to life. Includes a Dickensian Feast at Union Park.

​The Dickens Christmas Extravaganza package costs $175 and includes admission to all events. Individual admission to lectures noted below is also available at $15 per lecture. Inclusive packages are available at participating inns. Please contact the participating inns directly to register. If you choose not to stay in a participating inn, you may register at 609-884-5404.

Sunday, December 8: 7:30pm

Dr. Elliot Engel: Master of Mayberry: The Miraculous Life of Andy Griffith

While it is true that he was a brilliant movie and Broadway stage actor, Andy Griffith is a Hollywood immortal because of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW television show which ran from 1960 to 1968.  Professor Engel not only analyzes Andy’s astonishing early life which led to his television triumph, but he also reveals little-known fascinating facts about the show’s production and its enduring and endearing fame. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

Monday, December 9: 9am

Dr. Elliot Engel: Beyond The Muddy Cloak: The Brilliance Of Sir Walter Raleigh

Dr. Engel reveals the fascinating life of this author-explorer-courtier who deserves to be celebrated for far more than his muddy cape.  Sadly, he's been forgotten today as one of the great writers of love poetry and as a brilliant entrepreneur. But Professor Engel certainly hasn't forgotten, and, using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, he will make this remarkable historical figure live once again. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

Monday, December 9: 10:30am

Dr. Elliot Engel: Defining Dr. Samuel Johnson

Although compiling the first and greatest dictionary of our language was Johnson’s immortal accomplishment, his life was an astonishing tribute to overcoming innumerable obstacles through pure genius. Dr. Engel, using biography, anecdotes, and large doses of humor, reveals the triumphs and tragedies of this remarkable eighteenth-century giant. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

Monday, December 9: 1pm-3pm


Holiday Inns Tour

Get into the Christmas spirit as you tour three of Cape May's festively decorated Bed & Breakfast Inns and private homes. Maps will be provided.

Tuesday, December 10: 10am

Ellie Dunn: Dickens’ Christmas Stories

Dickens’ most well-known Christmas story may be A Christmas Carol but it is no means his only tale of Christmas redemption. Ellie Dunn, member of the Philadelphia Dickens Fellowship, discusses five stories published in periodicals by Dickens between 1843 and 1848. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets.)

Tuesday, December 10: 11am


Melissa Palmer: Dickens Goes to the Movies
A tribute to the Christmas Carol and all the various and sundry versions that have been recorded on film, the famous and the obscure.  Learn how the films reflect on the times in which they were produced and the audiences for which they were made. 

Tuesday, December 10: 2pm


Rich Chiemingo: Charles Dickens and Music, Part 2

Musical references abound in Dickens’ fifteen novels- little wonder since he loved songs and sang them well. This talk will include numerous readings from the stories and musical examples. (Cape May Stage Robert Shackleton Playhouse, Lafayette & Bank Streets)

Tuesday, December 10: 7PM: 

Dickens Feast: Join your fellow Dickensians at Union Park Dining Room in the Hotel Macomber, 727 Beach Avenue. Guests can choose from several entrée selections. Coffee, tea and Iced Tea included. Local wines available by the bottle. Open only to full package participants.


Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Eliot Engel now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA he won that university’s Outstanding Teacher Award. Dr. Engel has written ten books published in England, Japan, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays which he has written have been produced during the last ten years. Since 1980, Dr. Engel has been President of the Dickens Fellowship of North Carolina, the largest branch of this worldwide network of clubs. Professor Engel continues to give literary and historical programs throughout the world.

Rich Chiemingo is a museum educator for the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities, as well as a lighthouse keeper at the Cape May Lighthouse and an observer at the World War II Lookout Tower. As a living history interpreter, he shares his perspective on American composer and band leader John Philip Sousa. Prior to retiring to the Cape May area, Rich also had a career in the music industry, including a stint as a military bandsman, and in the bands of Guy Lombardo, Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra.

Ellie Dunn has been fascinated with the Victorian times since she could read. The Victorian’s style of “decorating the decorations” fits right into her passion to learn more about their lives and those that wrote about it. She has spoken about this period of history at many events over the past 25 years. Ellie has been a member of the Philadelphia chapter of the worldwide Dickens Fellowship for 27 years and was tutored by Dr Jay Friedlin, emeritus president of the Fellowship and has participated in the Dickens Extravaganza since its early years!