Tripping the Light Fantastic at Dickens’ Birthday

The Kingsessing Morris Men enlivened the Feb. 3 celebration of Charles Dickens’ 201st birthday, aka the “University City Super Bowl”.

“Please, sir, I want some more.” Cindy Roberts dishes out her extraordinary trifle, a classic Victorian dessert, at the indoor birthday party at Griffith Hall on USP campus, where talented actors read gripping excerpts from Dickens’ novels & personal letters.

Former FoCP President Frank Chance presides as youngsters scramble up the Dickens statue to lay wreaths on his head & Little Nell’s. The buzz was that this year’s program – which focused on classic villains of Dickens, as well as fascinating glimpses of his life delved from his copious letters – was the most polished party ever.

A proper morris dance involves a great deal of stick-whacking. This team has been active in West Philly for 30 years.

After their performance, the morris men led FoCP members in a reel. Here Caitlin Zacharias sashays to the head of the line & back.

Bob Behr, an FoCP member who is active in the Dickens Fellowship, prepares to escort FoCP President Erin Engelstad down the line.

Democratic 27th Ward Leader Carol Jenkins is about to make a bridge under which all the other dancers will pass.

Yay! Erin gets a check from Joe Duffy on behalf of the Dickens Fellowship for $2,250 to replace the decrepit benches in the much-loved, hard-used Dickens Circle.

Holiday Gift Gear Helps Clark Park

You can all help your community, as well as your family members & friends, by giving them Clark Park gear.

If they live in this neighborhood, or ever did, you know how much they care about this magical public space. They’ll appreciate receiving a gift that gives to the community as well as to them. And there’s no way better to do this than to give to Clark Park, where the whole community comes together!

All the money raised by sales of Friends of Clark Park gear goes to improve the park at the heart of our neighborhood. What better way to send holiday wishes to your loved ones & neighbors than this!

The Friends of Clark Park Membership Table will be at the Farmers’ Market tomorrow and next Saturday, Dec. 15 and Dec. 22, 10am-2-pm.

Leading off this winter is new cool-weather apparel. Our new zippered hoodie comes in black or forest green and sports a bold new back design.  It leads the Friends of Clark Park line @ $42.

We have a full rack of knit caps in vibrant colors @ $15. Warm, adjustable, you can’t go wrong with them.

Let’s talk babies. If you have a baby, or have a friend who has a baby, in this neighborhood … then of course you want the onesies, which come in 3 different sizes. Trust me: this is a gift they will use!

Traditional Clark Park t-shirts are a natural bond for all University City neighbors. Hey, we all love this park like we love our neighborhood!

Never to be repeated is our 200th birthday Charles Dickens t-shirts, with their brave “BAH HUM BUG” fronts & their historic, stylish 19th-c backs. A must for your literature-loving friends. But ONLY AVAILABLE in the small size.


Help Us Clean Up the Dickens Statue Saturday 2/4

We need volunteers! Could you spare an hour or two on Saturday morning (2/4) to help us spruce up our famous statue of Dickens and Little Nell for the big birthday celebration? We will be picking up litter, raking old leaves, and generally tidying up the statue area for the 200th birthday celebration. Please join us! Meet at 9:00am at the Dickens statue in Clark Park (the north side of 43rd & Chester) on Saturday, February 4th.
See you there!

New South Wales had a Dickens statue all along!

The NSW Dickens Society, with the recently-restored Dickens statue.

Our statue of Charles Dickens may be unique in many ways, but it isn’t the only one in the world. On February 7, 2011, The Dickens Fellowship of New South Wales, Australia unveiled a restored marble statue of the novelist, commissioned by Sir Henry Parkes, as one of eleven statues to celebrate the 1888 centennial of European settlement in Australia. The statue had stood in Centennial Park for almost eighty years before vandals beheaded it. This prompted authorities to put it into storage around 1970. The storage company went bankrupt, and the statue eventually wound up on a private estate. The restoration process required sculpting a new head out of carefully chosen Carerra marble.

Here are three news items about the statue’s recent rededication.