by Susan Hamilton
Time-traveling to Victorian England at Christmastide is only as far away as Kellogg, Idaho, as the Historic Silver Valley Chamber of Commerce and Kellogg Project Uplift sponsors the sixth annual Victorian Dickens Christmas Festival.
On Friday, Dec. 7, you can experience dinner with Queen Victoria. The royal feast features six courses with entertainment between each course. The menu includes shrimp cheese balls, roasted pork loin stuffed with dried plums and rosemary, and rum cake. Servers are dressed in period style and event-goers can rent costumes in Kellogg reminiscent of the 1850s -- from hoop-skirted Victorian evening gowns and fancy children's dresses to cloaks and top hats.
"The hats are the most fun," says Joan Block, a festival volunteer. "Some are large and exotic with decorations atop."
A classic high tea will be served on Saturday, Dec. 8. This is a four-course affair featuring scones with fruit butter and clotted cream, mini sandwiches and pasties, and a finale of desserts -- lemon squares, pecan tassies and shortbread, to name a few. Each guest will take home a delightful Victorian ornament.
For both events, the Masonic Hall is transformed into a festive, elegant room decorated with lighted garlands and Victorian displays of pearls, lace and period artifacts. Tables are set with linen cloths, candles and unique china place settings.
Entertainment true to the mid-1800s includes singing groups, dancers, flutists, short skits and readings. A jester dance complete with golden costumes is featured at the high tea.
Following the tea on Saturday is a character parade through Kellogg, with Tiny Tim, the Crachit family, Fagin, Oliver Twist, Marley's ghost and Scrooge. Father Christmas, in his traditional long robe and staff, will hand out candy canes to the crowd.
The Victorian Christmas runs Friday, Dec. 7, through Saturday, Dec. 8. The dinner with Queen Victoria is at 7:30 pm on Friday and costs $25 per person; the High Tea is at 1 pm on Saturday and costs $18 per person. The festival itself runs from 11 am to 6 pm on Saturday and is free. Call (208) 784-0821 for reservations or more information.