As a resident of Rochester High Street I will be in the thick of the festival but we will have thousands of visitors from further afield.
Many who come are Dickens enthusiasts, including a number who make the trip from America every year. Others, from near and afar, are here for the stalls and the funfair and the general merrymaking.
We hope that it will be a great weekend for local traders. Rochester is now unusual in having so many independent shops and traders. That adds to the draw of the Dickens festival, as well as encouraging festival goers to come again to see Rochester when it is not so hectic.
I have fond memories of leading the Dickens parade a few years ago when I had the honour of escorting our then Mayor, Councillor Sue Haydock. It was not quite so hot that year as expected this weekend, so I hope readers will forgive me for not being in Victorian outfit again but join me in sending appreciation to those who do dress up.
Welcome all and enjoy the weekend.