A Dickens Christmas

November 30, 2010

While browsing the papers for all the sale ads on Black Friday, my husband chanced upon a FREE COUPON to the Charles Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Regular price for adult entry is $25 - pretty steep, I thought.

I've always wanted to go to fairs like this where participants are gloriously garbed in period costumes. The coupon, however, was only good for one admittance. So we drove around town looking for newspaper box. Do you know that you can hardly find one nowadays - with the majority of people opting to get their news online? We drove around and around, to spots we knew had newspaper boxes. Until we almost ran out of gas and pulled up to get gas. Then my husband remembered that gas stations used to sell newspapers too. And voila, we bought a $0.75 papers for the chance to get the $25.00 admission free. We did good right?

Here's what the fair is all about, source here.

The bustling streets of London, immortalized for all time by the mighty pen of Charles Dickens, form the living backdrop of your excursion into Christmas Past. You are a living part of a Victorian Christmas card come to life!

Come wander the lanes of Victorian London, as the glow of twilight settles upon the city, with the scent of pine boughs & freshly baked scones floating in the air and the sound of carolers and holiday merrymakers accompanying your stroll.

Enjoy some of the photos I took. I was in Dickens heaven - a real treat for an anglophile like me.

We were driving down to the central coast for a post-Thanksgiving get-away cum hubs birthday treat, but a short 3-hour visit to the fair was first on the agenda.

What a Dickens welcome!

Upon entry, you'd be at the Grand Concourse.

The Cloak Check - leave your coats here for a fee.

There were a lot of things going on, stages all over, this one shows some singing. Really good singing too.

An accessories cart.

Rowdy drunk ladies on the streets.

The mannequin on the window is alive. This was a big hit with attendees. This window and the one next to it are not without any photographers taking a shot. [This is my entry for this week's Window Views and Doors too.]

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Another stage, another show.

We had haggis. Like most fairs, food are overpriced here. We got a small - very small - cup of eggnog for $4 and we smirked at Starbucks for the $4 venti, right?

People in costume talking with British accents are all over the fair, like they are going about their daily Victorian life. This group is posing for a portrait.

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As expected the bangers concession has the longest line.

I enjoyed this fair so much - more so because I got in for free. I told my husband the price for admission was set so high because I think they're paying all these people/actors/players. There were so many of them.


  1. If you liked that, Maria, next year you must find a place like we have nearby in Deventer where it's all outside on narrow European streets and it REALLY looks like Dickens. Astrid and I were there last year before Christmas in freezing cold weather. I'll never forget it. But this is definitely better than nothing...and for free, to boot!

  2. Quite an interesting fair to attend. It seems to be alive with photo opportunities.

  3. Excellent photos, Ewok, and the girl in the window especially! :) Happy New Year!

  4. This was definitely seeking out!
    A window into the old world.

  5. What a marvelous opportunity to leave "our world" and visit another very entertaining and different lifestyle. I can't imagine what a haggis is, but a scone sounds very good. Thanks for all the fine pictures that enables us viewers to participate in some of the things you saw and enjoyed.

  6. wow, photos look like they come out direct from a movie screen! wonderful!

  7. What the Dickens? You were right there! LOL At any rate, I love the photos. They do look like, like I've seen on movies, The Dickens Place.

    Happy New Year!

  8. This looks like a fascinating fair, doubly so since it didn't cost you anything to get in. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  9. The fair is interesting! Do spectators wear fancy costumes too? =)

  10. what a festive mood and very fun fair. happy new year :)

  11. You and your husband did well to get the ticket. But how much gasoline did you spend driving? :D

    Anyway, it's worth it. The fair looks awsome from your pictures. The old Victorian (Dickensian?) costumes and lifestyle are so colorful - like good old days.

  12. Very nice pictures. Did the fair show how London was during the time of Dickens or did the fair feature scenes and costumes from one of his novels? Just curious.

    A belated Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and your loved ones. Take care always.

  13. Thanks for the visit of this original fair Maria!

  14. How fun, I love living history events like that!

    Best wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful new year. Lucky you getting to go, and so reasonably too.

    My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  15. wow, that looks like a special event. love the costumes. some nice captures!!

  16. That is very cool! Even looking at your pictures was fun -- a great photo essay, I feel like I've been there. And trust me, unless we were smart enough to find two free coupons like you two did, looking at your pictures is the ONLY way I'll ever go.

  17. Muy bien ambientado. Gracias por tus amable y bonito comentario me ha gustado mucho. Feliz Año Nuevo.

  18. How beautiful, I've enjoyed this interesting tour in the fair!
    I wish you a Joyful 2011 :-)

  19. Wow a Dickens Christmas! That's a pleasant way to celebrate. =)

    My best wishes for a healthy, joyful and prosperous 2011 to you and your hubby!

    Here's to more travel posts + pics which I always find quite interesting to read.

  20. that's so cool that you got in free! I went for the 1st time this year and suffered sticker shock + the price of parking...well, when all is said and done, it was worth it! Entertaining for sure and a lot of fun! I got a couple of magical wands for the nieces for Christmas and spent some time with a long lost friend.

    Happy New Year!

  21. Much more joyful than the real streets of old London, I guess. :-)
    Happy New Year!

  22. Excellent deal- $0.75 for a $25 admission coupon!
    Happy New Year!

  23. Happy Happy New Year to you and to your family!! I wish you a brighter 2011 ahead! Cheers for more moments! :)

  24. hi p.c, happy new year! ^0^
    i wish you a gr8 year ahead,
    yes, the entrance fee was quite pricey but well worth it, glad you had a gr8 time.
    interesting costumes btw.


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