Ohio Wesleyan students and Delaware residents gathered on Feb. 7 at the Beehive Bookstore on S. Sandusky St. to celebrate the work of Victorian poet and novelist Charles Dickens on his 200th birthday.
The celebration was an all-day affair for Dickens fans, according to Chaplain Jon Powers. Beehive provided free cupcakes throughout the day.
The festivities culminated in the evening when locals gathered to sing “Happy Birthday” to Dickens and cut a cake in his honor.
Some celebrated by enthusiastically reading their favorite Dickens pieces.
Others, like OWU graduate Leanne Williams, dressed up in traditional costume representing the Victorian era.
“My life motto is when you have the opportunity to dress up, you should take it,” she said.
The idea of a Dickens birthday celebration began with Powers’s love of Dickens’s work. “This began for me some weeks ago when I decided to re-read all of Dickens’ work for fun, and then discovered that today was his 200th birthday,” he said. “I spoke to Mel, the owner of Beehive, about the possibility of having a bit of a celebration at Beehive for (the) campus and the community, and she thought it was a great idea, so we decided to do this, an open ended, informal birthday party with cake (and) open time for anyone who wanted to share their favorite readings.”
Dr. Dennis Prindle, who read at the Beehive celebration, appreciates the modern fascination with Dickens.
“What’s so great about Dickens is that everything he wrote is online now and there are websites dedicated to Victorian life,” he said. “What little Dickens didn’t tell us about his life, his best friend later did.”
During one of the readings, the life of Dickens inspired the group to look up his will, which they found supposedly listed exactly what he wanted at his funeral ceremony when he died.
Dickens is noted for his classic and memorable works such as “The Adventures of Oliver Twist,” “A Tale of Two Cities” and “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.”