Myra Starnes: Making The Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals Sizzle!

By Leslie Moore

For 36 years, The Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals has been a tradition for locals and visitors alike. More than 20,000 guests each year step into the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and experience a Victorian Holiday Marketplace, in true Dickens tradition, with vendors dressed in traditional Victorian costume and entertainment ranging from Punch and Judy shows to a tea leaf reader to strolling Victorian Musicians and much more. This is a great place to start, or finish, your holiday shopping – an unbelievable variety of beautiful items are offered in every price range. This year’s dates are Thursday, November 9 through Sunday, November 12.

Keeping with the Dickens theme, Victoria Holiday Teas are also offered and are very popular – both high tea and luncheon tea. Included with the tea is a performance of A Christmas Carol by Howard Burnham, a true Shakespearian actor and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. Other off site activities are available, with new events added each year.

What many attendees do not know is that The Dickens Show partners with local non-profits each year, giving them the opportunity to promote themselves and increase funding. This year, a new non-profit, The LIFE Program at Coastal Carolina University, is doing the Festival of Trees. The trees, lights and space are provided and the non-profit solicits volunteers to decorate them and gather presents. The trees are sold during the show and all proceeds go to the LIFE Program.

Myra Starnes, founder and driving force behind The Dickens Show, is passionate about helping her community and furthering the work done by participating non-profits. “They do so much! We give them the space and it opens other doors. Our charities are a very important part of the Dickens Show.”

The show requires the charities adhere to a strict set of standards. “One hundred percent of the work must be done by volunteers,” Myra began. “And they must have a wish list posted that is at least three pages.” As she continued Myra told me that Barnabas Horse Foundation had listed a tractor as an item on their wish list. “In the summer of 2016, a long trailer pulled up to their facility and began unloading things for the horses. Volunteers unloaded everything and thanked the donor profusely.”  Myra laughed and went on. “The guy then asked them if they didn’t want the tractor!” The donor had seen the list at the show and bought the group a $38,000 tractor!”

The different charities man various themed activities – the Festival of Wreaths, the Festival of Tables, the Festival of World and more. “Most of Charles Dickens’ work highlights those in need,” Myra said. “It’s important for us to give these good causes a way to promote themselves.”

Myra has seen The Dickens Show grow each year – she and her team are constantly coming up with new and exciting activities. “Disney was my idol,” laughed Myra. “If you walk in the door and don’t buy a thing, you will still get your money’s worth. The show has sizzle!”

The Dickens Show will be held November 9-12 in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. For more information or tickets to the show, visit or call 843-448-9483.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore

    Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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