Bellefonte’s annual Victorian Christmas 'brings a warmth'

It may not have been Christmas morning, but Ebenezer Scrooge lost his bah humbug for the Bellefonte Victorian Christmas kickoff on Friday.

Thick British accents could be heard a block away from the Bellefonte Elementary School, as actors from Dickens & Company offered a “Happy Christmas” to guests, including director Brian Belge as Scrooge himself.

Others dressed as characters from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” didn’t break character at all.

Friday night was the kickoff to the annual tradition known as Bellefonte Victorian Christmas.

As Scrooge and his clan of characters welcomed visitors at the front doors to the elementary school, the Bellefonte Community Band played classic holiday songs like “O Tannenbaum” near the steps of the entrance.

Sheryl Jo Burnaby took her grandkids to the official event opening of Bellefonte Victorian Christmas and said this was the kind of activity that gets her in the yuletide mood.

“It’s cold outside, but it brings a warmth to your heart to see community involvement this time of year,” Burnaby said.

Inside, performances included the Nittany Knights Barbershop Chorus, the Bellefonte Elementary fourth and fifth grade choir, the middle school women’s chorale, the St. John’s Elementary School choir and other performance groups.

Ten-year-old Ava Seigworth, a Bellefonte Elementary fourth-grader, said she was excited to perform with the Kennedy Dance Center as the company’s lone Sleep Fairy during an act from “Hansel and Gretel.”

“It’s fun to do this during Christmas and at my school,” she said.

Joan Kennedy-Kirkpatrick said that 14 girls from the area performed Friday night as part of a group called “Kennedy’s Kids.”

Belge, the producer and director of the Dickens Holiday Show, got the biggest response Friday.

“This is our favorite,” said Bellefonte resident JoAnn Winter.

She explained that each year, she and group of friends get together with their families and make a night of Bellefonte Victorian Christmas, hoping to see the Dickens Holiday Show.

Belge, originally from Syracuse, N.Y., and now of Lititz, has been playing Scrooge since 1987 and has been a part of Victorian Christmas for four years.

“You see, people just love it,” Belge said in a English accent while he urged guests to call him “Uncle Eby.”