CANBERRA, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Donning beautiful gowns and bonnets and jiving in a ball might give spectators an illusion that they are in one of the scenes of Pride and Prejudice, an 1813 romantic novel written by British novelist Jane Austen.
The Jane Austen Festival, held from Friday to Sunday in Albert Hall of Australia's capital Canberra, offers people a chance to visit the world of Jane Austen in the early 19th century in England.
"We have got 250 participants this year," said 46-year-old Aylwen Gardiner-Garden, founder of the festival, who offers limited space for visitors. "When you have got 250 people all dressed up in beautiful gowns in the dance ball, it is a really nice feeling."
Jane Austen Festival Australia first took place in 2008, when Gardiner-Garden, who is also a dancer, held a Pride and Prejudice ball. "People all enjoyed it. So I thought maybe we could have some daytime workshops teaching people how to do the dances, how to sew the dresses and how to make the bonnets. So it started to get bigger and bigger with more people coming from across Australia and even overseas."
Besides providing people with the opportunity to dance, the festival now also organizes different activities such as workshops where participates can learn different skills, the same thing as Jane Austen did when she was young.
Also, people could listen to various topics of talks ranging from the characters of Austen's literature works to the history of Britain.
Like many Australian people, Gardiner-Garden is a descendant of the British as her father was from London.
"I came to Jane through television and movies," she said, recalling that she was fascinated by Jane Austen when she was only 11 or 12. "Then I went back to reading the novels."
Talking about the reason why she loves Jane Austen, Gardiner-Garden said "We all want happy ever after ... the happiness, the variety of movies and she is giving us an excuse to enjoy life."
Although she likes Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy, she said her husband was more like Mr. Knightley in Emma, Austen's another novel. Her husband is now a dance teacher at the festival.
A participate, Wiktor Flach, attended the festival for the fourth time. "I know the organizers for many years. I have been familiar with them when they organized the dances which transformed into the festival as we see today," he said.
The man came in the uniform of a Scottish regiment. "It is another way of trying to bring history to life. For a lot of people, history is a book on the shelf, or an item in the glass case, or a plaque on the wall. We think it is more to us than that," he said.
Brittany Wetherspoon, in her 20s, came to the festival dressed in an elegant white dress. "I love the etiquette and everyone here is friendly," she said.
"It is cool to do dancing like this. I do enjoy Jane Austen. Her writing is amazing. And I enjoy the culture as well."