The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party


Who Was Charles Dickens? A Biography | Discover the Heart of Dickens! | Our Very Own Dickens
A Brief History of Dickens' London | A Victorian Timeline | Background on Queen Victoria
Suggested Readings | Dickens' Bibliography | Online Resources

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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair would not exist without our progenitor, the illustrious Charles Dickens! Learn more about Mr. Dickens, his works, and their significance by exploring this area of our website.

Aside from the warmth and frivolity at Mr Fezziwig’s Christmas Party (DO come ~ you are all invited!) special Dickensian environments can be found throughout the Fair: the irrepressible Mr. Crummles and his ever-so theatrical family (from Nicholas Nickleby) grace the Victoria & Albert Bijou Music Hall, while timeless and iconic scenes from Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol are presented on the Pennygaff Stage as well as throughout the Fair ~ watch Ebenezer Scrooge change from flinty miser to eager participant in the joy of Christmas under the tutelage of the Ghosts of Jacob Marley and Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come!

Scenes from Oliver Twist, too, play out in the streets of the Fair, as well as in seedy Fagin's Den. The streets of the Fair are filled with Mr Dickens’ characters. Among the many lively characters stepping out of the pages of Dickens’ books, you may see the unctuous Uriah Heep menacing the virtuous Agnes Wickfield, and the heroic young David Copperfield and his adorably ditzy Dora wander through the twilight streets wrapped in the glow of young love. Watch the travails and triumphs of Nicholas Nickleby and his family unfold imperiled by the wicked Ralph Nickleby. Enjoy the merry antics of Mr Samuel Pickwick, his clever manservant Sam Weller and the rest of the famous Pickwick Club! You may see and speak with characters from many of Dickens’ works including Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Sketches by Boz, and so many more!

And you may see the man himself - Mr. Charles Dickens - at the Dickens Family Parlour in Nickelby Road at the Fair, where his family and artistic friends congregate throughout the day. Mr Dickens reads from A Christmas Carol at scheduled times in his parlour.



Performing at the Fair

What performers and aspiring performers need to know, including how to submit a proposal; requirements for performers including workshops and costume approval; and paperwork / online participant registration.

Working at the Fair

What you need to know to work at one of the many shops inside the Fair, including workshops, costume guidelines, mandatory costume approval, and passes.

Cat's Email Missives

How to sign up for the Missives List. We do not do physical mailings to our performers, so the Missives List is the only way to stay apprised of all important information about performing at the Dickens Fair.

Costume Guidelines

General overview; basic information on men's, women's and children's costuming; thrift store costuming; footwear & headwear; and recommended patterns and suppliers.

Public Costume Policy

Building Your Character

Use these notes to develop a three-dimensional character complete with your own background, needs, ambitions and idiosyncrasies.

Language Guidelines

For your edification, we present examples of pronunciation and phrases to use for your Dickens Fair character, whether upper or middle class, or in sommat reduced circumstances.

Vendor Information

(vendor fact sheet)

How To Apply

Our 2021 Season is pending. Please check back in late Spring of 2021 for information on how to apply for the 2021 event.

Booth Building Guidelines

Guidelines and sample drawings for designing and decorating your booth to bring to life Charles Dickens' London: storefronts, facades, props, and lighting fixtures, as well as guidelines for merchant carts.

Electricity & Lighting

Detailed information on event lighting, allowable amps, lighting design, disallowed lighting fixtures, and wiring.



To Volunteer

In order to volunteer with the operations department and qualify for complimentary tickets for your family and friends, you need to be registered as a volunteer performer. You must first complete the Living History Centre Performing Arts Workshops, and join a performing group. Here’s how:

  • Attend the LHC workshops in late October - early November
  • Register and get selected into a group
  • Create and approve your costume
  • Complete the classes and get your gate pass

Once you are a part of a group, and understand your time commitments, you can choose to volunteer a few hours of your time with the Operations Department. Please email the Operations Department at [email protected], and provide your name, email address, and phone number. We will have the volunteer manager contact you.

Promotional Events

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a holiday tradition for many people. Help us make it a new tradition for others! We are always looking for folks to help promote the Fair by distributing Fair Flyers (links below) and by signing up for promotional events. This year we have a very exciting schedule of promotional events, some of which include:

  • Christmas Tree Lightings in the San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose areas
  • Parades in the San Francisco area
  • Postering throughout the Bay area

Any and all volunteers are welcome - attend any one event and receive two complimentary tickets to the Fair! (Must attend in costume and be at least 16 years of age.)

To participate, simply e-mail Chase Williams at [email protected]. You can also contact the office to ask to be added to the telephone contact list; the number is (800) 510-1558. Thank you!!

Prepare for the Fair

New to Dickens' London? Let us show you how to find your way around!

The World of Charles Dickens

Learn about our progenitor Mr. Dickens, his works, and their significance.

Performing or Working at the Fair

Interested in working or performing at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair? Learn about registration, workshops, costume approval, and a host of other information at:

Public & Participant Costume Guidelines

Make Dickens' Characters Your Ringtone!

A "Bah Humbug" from Ebenezer Scrooge or "Aaaarrrgh" from the Ghost of Jacob Marley is just the thing to hear when that special person calls.

Scrooge1: Mp3 | Scrooge2: Mp3
Marley1: Mp3 | Marley2: Mp3
Sykes: Mp3 | Fagin: Mp3
Mr. Bumble: Mp3 | Mrs. Finching: Mp3