The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party

Tickets and Parking | Guest Attire | Safety | COVID-19 Information | Accessibility | Food and Beverages | Other FAQs


Tickets and Parking

How do I purchase tickets?

Tickets are available by purchase online only. Please note tickets are date-specific and daily attendance is limited. There are no onsite ticket sales at the Cow Palace. See tickets for details. Any issues, please email [email protected]

Is there a Will-Call booth?

Yes. For customer service needs, or to pick up tickets that have been left for you, there is a Will-Call booth in the new Upper Lobby adjacent to the main Cow Palace parking lot.

Where is the new "Upper Lobby" entrance?

The Upper Lobby is a free-admission area where you may purchase a cut Christmas Tree, rent skates to enjoy the skating rink, or purchase a hot spiced cider in our Victorian park, “Vauxhall Gardens.”

How much is Parking? Where do I park?

The Cow Palace charges $15.00 per vehicle to park, $30 for RV and Bus parking. Please use the Main Entrance to the Cow Palace at 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City and park as directed by the Cow Palace staff. Cow Palace parking attendants will accept both cash and credit card. If you have a Disabled Person (DP) placard, the parking staff will direct you to the designated Accessible Parking area.

Where is Ride Share Pick-Up & Drop-Off?

You may ask your Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare driver to drop you off at the Cow Palace Main Entrance located at 2600 Geneva Blvd., Daly City. The rideshare pick-up location is just south (100 feet) of the Cow Palace Main Entrance ~ outside the main parking lot ~ on Geneva Blvd.

Is there any Public Transportation to the Cow Palace?

Yes, please visit the Cow Palace website for details. The nearest BART staton is Balboa Park. Muni has frequent busses on Geneva Avenue to the Cow Palace for about $3. Uber and Lyft are approximately $9-$15 from the Balboa Park BART station to the Cow Palace.

Are there ATMs at the Cow Palace?

Yes. ATMs are located near the Will-Call booth in the Upper Lobby, by the Coat & Parcel Check in the Lower Lobby, and on Fish Street inside the “Bank of London.”

Can I leave and come back in?

Visitors to the Fair may leave and re-enter on the same day by receiving a hand stamp upon exit. Please note that there is no in/out for parking.

Guest Attire

What is the best way to dress for a day at the Fair?

We suggest dressing comfortably, wearing good walking shoes, and checking the local weather report to determine if coats and umbrellas will be needed for your walk from the parking lot. The entire Fair is indoors and a Coat & Parcel Check is provided inside the Lower Lobby.

An important part of our theatrical time travel and holiday experience is maintaining an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all. Attire that is racist, sexist, or culturally insensitive is not permitted and may result in refusal of admittance. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Clothing with objectionable statements, symbols, obscene language, or graphics that are politically provocative or may cause emotional harm or trauma to others, including but not limited to: swastikas, confederate flags, alt-right images, etc.
  • Clothing or costumes that, by exposing excessive portions of the skin, may be viewed as inappropriate or make others uncomfortable.

Fair Management reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could cause harm to, or detract from the experience of other Guests.

Do I have to wear a costume? Are there any costumes that are not permissible?

Costumes are admired but not required for our patrons.

Costumes that are culturally or historically insensitive are not permissible. This includes portraying specific groups of people in demeaning and biased ways, such as criminals, hyper-sexualized, or grotesque caricatures. Costumes that mock or show insensitivities by poking fun at the traumatic experiences of historical harm, bigotry, or displacement are not permitted.

We also ask that you not attend the event in costumes that can be viewed as representative of a central Dickensian character from the Fair. This includes Ebenezer Scrooge; the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future; Charles Dickens; Queen Victoria; and Father Christmas (or the American Santa Claus).

Guests may not wear full head masks (such as “Furries”) of any kind or a full face mask unless it is transparent and used for a medical condition. However, small Masquerade style masks are permitted, especially if part of a Victorian Ball costume or evening attire.

Guests may not attend in costumes that are highly distracting from our Victorian theme. This is at Management’s discretion and includes but is not limited to the following examples: Storm Troopers (Star Wars costumes in general), Superheros (such as Marvel Comics characters), Fantasy characters (including Sorcerers, Krampus, and Monsters). The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a theatrical venue where our actors maintain a storyline relating to the works of Charles Dickens and mid 1800s London.

If you wish to create a full or partial costume to enhance your Fair experience, please consult our very informative Victorian Costuming Guidelines. Again, costumes are admired, but not required!

Safety

What are the Rules of Engagement as a guest in an immersive theatrical environment?

One of the wonderful and unique parts of the Fair experience is the immersive aspect created by hundreds of costumed performers and merchants who guide you back in time. You are encouraged to mingle and engage with the wide range of people and characters you will meet - London was the busiest port in the world at this time, and considered by many to be the “center of the world.” People flocked from every country on the planet for trade, commerce, and cultural exchange. The performers and merchants who populate our London appreciate the chance to interact with you, but visitors are reminded to be kind and use good manners in all social exchanges. In the course of mingling with those sharing London with you, please be respectful and considerate!

What is the procedure for Lost Children (or Lost Parents)?

First, report your lost child to the nearest “London Guest Services” member (identified by their dark green jackets and hats) or to the manager of any beverage location. Lost children, when found, will be taken to the Merchandise & Information booth just inside the Lower Lobby (across from the Coat & Parcel Check).

Will there be a bag screening check?

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all our guests, all persons, bags, parcels, and other items may be subject to screening/security checks at the Upper Lobby Fair entrance and also within the venue. We reserve the right to refuse any bag, parcel, or other item from the Fair.

What types of personal items are NOT permitted inside the Fair?

Items NOT permitted in the Fair:

  • Wagons.
  • Skateboards.
  • Scooters (except for electric wheelchair type).
  • Drones.
  • Remote control toys.
  • Inline skates (except in the skating rink area).
  • Shoes with built-in wheels.
  • Strollers larger than 36" x 52" (92 x 132 cm).
  • Suitcases, coolers, or backpacks with or without wheels larger than 24" (61 cm) long x 15" (38 cm) wide x 18" (46 cm) high. Coolers required for medication may be stored at Coat & Parcel Check free of charge.
  • Any trailer-like object that is pushed or towed by a wheelchair or stroller.
  • Outside alcoholic beverages.
  • Weapons of any kind or objects that appear to be weapons (such as toy guns, toy blasters, squirt guns, etc.).
  • Folding chairs.
  • Glass containers (excluding baby food jars).
  • Pets (unless they are “Service Animals” as defined by the ADA: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html.
  • Balloons.
  • Tripod stands or monopod stands that cannot fit inside a standard backpack.
  • Wrapped gifts (all gifts must be able to be unwrapped for inspection).
  • Selfie sticks (hand-held extension poles for cameras and mobile devices).

Non-permitted items are assessed on a case-by-case basis; please use your best judgment and do not bring anything that may be potentially harmful or disruptive.

Does the Dickens Fair have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy?

Yes. For more information on our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion policy, visit our company website community page: https://redbarnproductions.com/dei/.

Where do I go for First Aid?

If you need First Aid, please locate a “London Guest Services” member (identified by their dark green jackets and hats) or any beverage stand server, and they will call our onsite Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

Is there any smoking inside the venue?

The Cow Palace is a 100% non-smoking indoor facility. A smoking area is provided outside the Lower Lobby entrance. One may not indulge elsewhere.

COVID-19 Information

Updated as of August 1st, 2022

Will vaccinations be required to participate in and attend the event?

We are currently requiring that all participants (performers and staff) of the event be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Our guests and customers will need to follow local and state guidelines which will be regularly updated on our website. As of August 1, 2022 as defined by the State of California: It is currently recommended but not required for customers to be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 and to wear masks inside the venue.

Will hand sanitizer be provided?

Yes, hand sanitizer will be available at all booths, eating establishments, inside the Upper and Lower Lobby, and throughout the event.

Will there be temperature checks?

No, temperature checks are not required at this time, but Fair Management reserves the right to require temperature checks at any time.

Will there be a mask requirement?

Masks are recommended for those who are sensitive, immune-compromised, or unvaccinated.

Will social distancing be required at the Fair?

Due to the nature of our interactive and immersive event, we cannot request nor guarantee specific distancing between and among participants and guests. However, we request that all participants and guests respect the personal space of others.

What improvements have been made to increase air circulation in the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls?

Large industrial fans have been installed in key locations throughout the exterior and interior of the venue. Additionally, all existing exhaust fans have been repaired or replaced to ensure that they are operating at maximum efficiency.

In addition to the above, the event layout has been modified to allow for doorways throughout the event buildings to be left open during event hours (please expect more London-like temperatures, so wear your overcoat!).

These improvements will significantly increase the air exchange rate throughout the venue to meet or exceed recommended safety standards.

Will attendance be limited?

Attendance will be capped on a daily basis. All ticket sales are for specific days, and purchasable online only. There will be no onsite box office. Onsite services include Will Call and Customer Service only. The dates you reserve online will be changeable in advance, based on availability.

Accessibility

Are there wheelchairs for rent?

Yes. Wheelchairs are available for rental at the Coat & Parcel Check inside the Fair for $15.00 per half day (4 hours) or $30.00 per full day (4+ hours) on a first-come, first-served basis.. You will find that the Fair is completely wheelchair accessible. If there are any places or circumstances that you experience as not fully accessible, please inform our London Guest Services team, a beverage stand, or any other Fair staff member immediately.

Are there designated baby changing and breast feeding areas?

Yes. Infant care spaces are located inside each of the restrooms. For breastfeeding privacy, there is a designated space just outside of the Victoria & Albert Theatre.

Are animals permitted?

Pets are not allowed. Please do not bring your pet or leave it in your car. Service animals (as defined by the ADA: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html) are always welcome. Once inside the event, please use the front entrance/exit ONLY to access dirt areas on the edge of the parking lot to relieve your pet. Please do not use the emergency exits.

Food and Beverages

Is food available for purchase?

Yes. Please visit our Food & Drink page here. Food prices range from $3.00 for items like desserts/coffee/tea to $20.00 for full plated meals. Please note that a few select vendors and caterers do not accept credit cards; there are ATMs in the event.

How do I make reservations for the Tea Parlour?

High Tea is served daily at 4 pm, with reservations required. Due to public demand, the Tea Parlour offers online reservations in advance at www.cuthbersteashoppe.com (beginning September 6, when tickets go on sale for the event). Reservations can also be made directly at the Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe inside the Fair on a first come, first serve basis. To reserve in person, please go directly to the Tea Parlour upon your arrival for best availability.

Is there food for vegetarians/those with special diets?

Yes. Many of the food booths serve vegetarian options. Please refer to the Food & Drink page on our website for more information.

I have allergies; can I bring my own food to the Fair?

Yes. No coolers, ice chests, picnic baskets, birthday cakes, outside alcohol, or other outside beverages, except water. There are two water bottle filling stations located within the Fair. For people with strong peanut or other nut allergies, please be advised that nuts ARE used in several locations throughout the event.

Can I fill my water bottle inside the Fair?

Yes. There are two water bottle filling stations inside the venue, which are marked on the map.

Other FAQs

Is there a Coat and Parcel Check?

Yes. Coat and Parcel check is available across from the Patterson & Sons Information booth, in the Grand Concourse area. Prices are $2.00 for Coats, Sweaters, and Small Parcels; $3.00 for Backpacks; and $5.00 for Large Parcels, Suitcases, Strollers, and Coolers.

Is there an Information Center?

Yes. Answers await you inside the Patterson & Sons Information booth, opposite the Lower Lobby in the Grand Concourse area.

Where are the restrooms?

There are three locations for flushable toilets: Inside the Upper Lobby adjacent to the main parking lot, inside the Lower Lobby Grand Concourse area; and in Ale House Alley near Mad Sal’s Dockside Ale House.

Where do I go regarding Lost and Found?

If you have lost (or found) personal items, please visit the Lower Lobby Coat and Parcel Check across from the Patterson & Sons Information booth in the Grand Concourse area. After hours, please email [email protected]

Do I need tickets for any of the shows?

No. All shows within the event are included in your Fair admission.

Cameras, Video, Audio, & Digital Equipment Usage

  • Small personal cameras are permitted but are subject to inspection. Photos may be taken for your personal use only, except where posted and announced.
  • Video cameras and tripods are not permitted except for pre-approved media workers who have provided credentials. Media requests will be reviewed and honored in advance only.
  • We ask that you use common sense and courtesy when photographing or videotaping at the Fair. No intense flash photography (fill only), and remain at a respectful distance from other guests, performers, and stages, etc.

Note: All film, digital, and recording rights are reserved. Commercial film and sound recording rights with respect to Red Barn Productions DBA The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, entertainment, and performers and staff are reserved.

Commercial use of any photographs, digital images, audio, tape, or video recordings of The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, without the express written consent of Red Barn Productions DBA The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, is strictly prohibited. All materials contained on our website are protected by United States Copyright law and cannot be reproduced, sold, distributed, transmitted, manipulated, displayed, published, or broadcast without prior written permission.

Can you recommend local lodging?

For those of you traveling to the Fair, check the Lodgings Search page of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau's website for accommodations in the San Francisco area, or our own Preferred Hotels & Accommodations page.

Additional Questions?

Please contact us at [email protected]