Nauticus museum welcomes royalty to Dickens’ Christmas Towne

Princesses arrived at the Nauticus museum Tuesday as part of the annual Dickens’ Christmas Towne event.

This month marks the third year the event has been held, but it’s a first for Cinderella, who took part in this year’s festivities. Those that dressed up in their royal gowns to meet her were granted free admission.

Cinderella danced, took pictures, and read books with the kids, who were free to come up to her as she waltzed around the town. She was joined by princesses Tiana (“The Princess and the Frog”), Belle (“Beauty and the Beast”), and Elsa (“Frozen”) later in the afternoon.

“This is the first year we have had the princess party,” Nauticus public relations specialist Beth Bilderback said. “Every year we try to add more elements. The whole idea is that you walk in here and feel like you’re somewhere else.”

Each Christmas, the indoor space, which normally serves as a cruise ship terminal, is transformed into a Victorian England streetscape complete with shops and cafes, characters dressed in authentic clothing, a stage for dozens of weekly performances, and even snow, which has been rigged to sprinkle from the ceiling throughout the day.

More than 23,000 people visited the Christmas Towne last year—a number the museum hopes to top as the event finishes out the month of December, Bilderback said.

“We found that people are staying, and that’s the sure sign of a hit if people hang around,” she said. “We wanted to create an affordable tradition for families to come back to year after year.”

At just five dollars per person, the affordability of the event is no coincidence, Bilderback said.

“Part of the history of Dickens’ Christmas Carol story is that he didn’t want the book to be bound or fancy or cost a lot; he wanted lots of people to enjoy the story,” Bilderback said. “So that’s what we did with the five dollar admission. We really feel this year’s event is bolder, brighter, and better than ever.”

Pohl may be reached at

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