TheGreat Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party – the only event of its kind in the world – returns for its 20th season at the historic Cow Palace on Saturdays and Sundays (and the Friday after Thanksgiving) from November 23 – December 22, 2019. Join over 800 performers in a 360-degree adventure into Charles Dickens’ London, where it is always Christmas eve and the holiday party is in full swing!
“Charles Dickens was a master at creating colorful characters. Our passion is bringing hundreds of these characters to life, and crafting an environment that is fully immersive, carefully curated and, above all, delightfully fun,” says Executive Director Kevin Patterson, whose family launched the annual holiday celebration nearly 50 years ago. “This is so much more than a Fair. It's a deeply engaging artistic environment that has been evolving for half a century.”
‘Tis always Christmas Eve at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair! Over 1,000 theatrical lights are rigged, positioned and colored to create the illusion of evening in the streets of Charles Dickens’ London. Around every corner, guests will discover carefully detailed Dickensian holiday-themed shops, pubs, stages and dance halls. Strolling through the streets, visitors will be transported to an evening in Victorian London with the aromas of roasted sugar almonds and hot cider, the sounds of hearty laughter and singing spilling forth from pubs and music halls, and the mirthful greetings of shopkeepers, street merchants, and fellow holiday merrymakers - from Queen Victoria to Ebenezer Scrooge.
Visitors can choose from seven stages offering entertainment for all ages and tastes. In the Victoria & Albert Bijou Music Hall, families will enjoy a splendid Christmas Pantomime with Baron Munchhausen & Mopsa the Fairy, wonderful musical favorites with The Royal Opera Gala and The Music Hall Singers, and one of the most successful one-act operettas of all time – Gilbert & Sullivan's comic opera “Trial By Jury.” New this year, the Crummles Theatrical Company presents a farce of murderous proportions with Sherlock Holmes and The Giant Rat of Sumatra, the greatest unwritten mystery of Holmes’ career!
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair overflows with holiday magic for the youngest guests, offering hands-on craft activities, old-world games of skill and chance, and lively interactive shows at the Tinsley Green Children’s Area and Father Christmas Stage. Youngsters can meet Father Christmas, ride on the hand-powered Adventure Carousel, have tea with characters from Alice in Wonderland, and laugh at the antics of an authentic British Punch & Judy puppet show. New on the Pennygaff Stage this season – The Death-Defying Sword-Swallowing of the Amazing Cyrus Pynn!
For those looking for more daring and perhaps even naughty entertainments, join the high-kicking dancers of Le CanCan Bijou and the sea-faring songs of Paddy West at bawdy Mad Sal’s Dockside Ale House, where Mad Sal herself hosts delightful new talents as well as Dickens Fair favorites. At the Victoria & Albert Bijou Music Hall, the extremely popular and outrageous “Saucy French Postcards Tableaux Revue” returns to delight adults over 18 with shockingly scandalous stories and exploits.
Guests will enjoy many new interactive offerings this year, including Professor Prospero’s Creature Caravan revealing the “varies” – magical hidden creatures living amongst us. Guests can chat with the Professor and see replicas of the exotic creatures he has seen! The newly expanded Corinthian Rose Sporting Club will allow more guests to learn the noble art of fencing, while famous and infamous characters of the Victorian world provide instruction to all levels of age and skill.
Hearty appetites meet hearty British Empire fare at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair! Feast on delicious foods from traditional savories like fish ‘n chips to handcrafted chocolates and teacakes. This year marks the debut of Aunt Samirah’s East India Cookery, a delicious culinary journey to the far reaches of the British Empire offering exotic dishes like butter curry over rice, saag paneer, and chicken tikka masala. Enjoy a frothy pint of English ale, fine wine, champagne, hot buttered rum, Irish coffee or hot toddy at one of five traditional pubs. Or sit for traditional English high tea complete with scones and finger sandwiches – perhaps Queen Victoria herself will drop in!
Discover the perfect gift for family and friends amidst the more than 100 beautiful shops and carts offering fine crafts, fanciful clothing and accessories, ceramics, elegant drinkware, stunning jewelry, toys, ornaments, antiquarian books, and more. A favorite purveyor returns to the fair this year after many years: Midnight Moon Apothecary will offer carefully crafted fragrances, salves, teas, and tinctures, along with a new line of soothing products for babies and children.
Upon entry to the Fair, or at the Patterson and Sons Shop just inside the front gate, guests are invited to pick up a copy of the official Dickens Fair Program with the Stage Schedules, Children’s Tour, Map of London and other useful information.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair was originally conceived and created by Ron and Phyllis Patterson in 1970, inspired by their successful Renaissance Pleasure Faire (the first Renaissance Faire in America) which they brought to the San Francisco Bay Area during the Summer of Love in 1967. Their son Kevin Patterson, along with his co-producers, wife Leslie Patterson and eldest son, Andrew Patterson, have helmed the Dickens Fair since 2000; along with son Michael and Punch & Judy Puppetmaster brother Brian Patterson, they continue a 50-year family tradition of presenting deeply immersive, historically authentic environmental theater!
Tickets go on sale September 4!
Early Bird Sale runs September 4 through October 15: Save $7.00 per Adult Ticket & $4.00 per Child Ticket for admission on the first two weekends!
Early Bird Pricing available at dickensfair.com through October 15.
Admission Prices at the Gate (if tickets are available)
Group Tickets: For groups of 20 or more, please contact Kathy Kingman, firstname.lastname@example.org. Group tickets are not available online.
Parking is available for $12 per vehicle (charged by the Cow Palace). The Fair offers a free shuttle from the Glen Park BART station.
For questions about tickets, please contact email@example.com.
Our esteemed Media Guests are most cordially invited to a sumptuous Tea at Mr. Dickens’ home, Tavistock House, on-site at 2pm daily during our opening weekend, November 23rd and 24th. Your RSVP to Denise Lamott at Denise@DeniseLamottPR.com or (415) 381-8793 is required in advance. Digital images, media passes, promotional tickets for a giveaway, interviews, and costumed performers for your holiday events are also available by contacting Denise Lamott.
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WHAT: The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party
WHEN: Opens Saturday, November 23 and runs Saturdays and Sundays (plus the Friday after Thanksgiving) through December 22, 2019, 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
WHERE: The Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City, CA
PRICES: Visit dickensfair.com!
General Admission (13+): $32.00
Children ages 5-12: $14.00
Children under 5: Free
Early Bird Sale runs September 4 through October 15~ Save $7.00 per Adult Ticket & $4.00 per Child Ticket for admission the first two weekends
Fair Season Pass: $120.00 Adult
Groups of 20 or more: Contact Kathy Kingman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fireman's Toy Drive: Daly City Fire Department's "Operation Santa Claus": Bring an unwrapped NEW toy to the Fair box office and receive a $5 discount off one Adult ticket! Toys will be given to the Daly City Fire Department's "Operation Santa Claus" toy drive, now in its 70th year of bringing holiday cheer to less fortunate families in the Daly City/Colma/Broadmoor area. This special discount is available at the Fair Box Office Only, and cannot be used in combination with pre-purchased tickets.
Active Military: 1st & 2nd Weekends Free Admission: Active Military personnel will receive FREE Admission on First and Second Weekends! (Nov. 23, 24, 29, 30 & Dec 1 only; photo I.D. required.) See website for details.
The Scrooge Special (Twilight Ticket offer, available only at box office):
Adult Twilight Tickets, available after 3pm: $20.00
Child Twilight Tickets, available after 3pm: $10.00
A great excuse to visit the Dickens Fair for a second time for shopping, dinner or a show!
Parking available for $12 (charged by the Cow Palace).
FOR MORE INFORMATION, visit www.dickensfair.com.