And around this statue, Philadelphians on Sunday sought to honor the author's coming 200th birthday with a party in his honor - complete with men dressed with bells on their legs doing traditional English dances.
West Philadelphians have celebrated Dickens' birthday since at least 1974, but emcee Frank Chance was impressed with Sunday's turnout.
"It was huge," he said, recalling years when bad weather had kept the crowd down to a dozen or so die-hard fans of the preeminent figure in Victorian literature.
This year, crowds packed the 270-seat auditorium at the adjoining University of the Sciences, where actors and fans read from passages of noted Dickens works, including A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and The Pickwick Papers.
And they were treated to period songs - including a rousing round of "Champagne Charlie," in which the protagonist earnestly explains that "champagne drinking is me game" - sung by David Jones, a London native with a real cockney accent who lives in North Jersey.
Amy Ferguson, a West Philadelphian who had never attended before, brought her five children to the event.
"They were primed and ready," she explained, because she had recently read them A Christmas Carol, and they enjoyed the actors' accents.
After the readings, everyone enjoyed period desserts, including a Victorian-era spice cake, and followed a procession of the Kingsessing Morris Men - a group who practice a traditional English dance that involves banging sticks together - to the Dickens statue, where three children laid wreaths on top of the author's and Little Nell's heads.
Though Clark Park may be the traditional home for the region's Dickens enthusiasts, this year the annual celebration is only one of several taking place throughout the city.
The Free Library of Philadelphia is holding a series of lectures, and the rare-book department will be host to a special exhibit on the author.
And the Dickens Fellowship, an international organization with a presence in Philadelphia, is having a dinner Tuesday, Dickens' actual birthday, at the Omni Hotel in Center City.
Contact staff writer Anthony Campisi at 215-854-5015, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @campisia on Twitter.