The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party - 36th Season
Nov. 17-Dec. 23, 2018, 10AM-7PM Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, San Francisco
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party - 36th Season


For all press inquiries, please contact Denise Lamott, Denise Lamott Public Relations, (415) 381-8793, [email protected]

Media images, an invitation to high tea, & performer appearances available!  Download 2017 Press Release PDF

Visitors Discover the True Meaning of Christmas in South San Francisco's Victorian London

“Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness…”
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Opens Saturday November 17 and runs weekends through Sunday December 23 from 10am to 7pm including Friday November 23, the day after Thanksgiving

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - (Aril 12, 2018) Under colorful swags of Union Jacks and boughs of holly, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party will return for six weekends amid the theatrically-lit halls of the historic Cow Palace (2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City, CA) on Saturdays and Sundays (as well as the Friday after Thanksgiving) from November 17 through December 23, 2018, to offer visitors a delightfully immersive holiday experience unlike any other.

An annual tradition for Bay Area natives and visitors alike, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair’s 800 Victorian characters, from waltzing royals to scrappy chimney-sweeps, populate over three acres of twilight-lit shops, pubs, stages, and dance halls. This season’s event will debut an expansive new children’s area, new juried crafts, and the premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta “Trial By Jury” – the perfect setting to revel in the joy of the season!

“…Merry voices and light-hearted laughter range through the room…” ~ Charles Dickens

Throughout London town, visitors will discover seven stages offering entertainments for all ages and tastes. Those seeking family-friendly fare will appreciate the Royal Opera Gala, engaging children’s shows, thrilling melodramas, and sprightly dance performances. Looking for something more salty? Swagger down to the dockside and join the can-can dancers and sailors at the all-new, bawdy Mad Sal’s Music Hall Review.

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. This year, an expanded Tinsley Green Children’s Area and Father Christmas Stage will entertain and delight; youngsters can meet Old Father Christmas, ride on a hand-powered Adventure Carousel, cheer the Toy Parade, and laugh at the antics of an authentic British Punch & Judy puppet show.

Dozens of activities are offered to fascinate and engage young ones. Here they may construct a whimsical Fairy House, learn how to run an 1860s printing press, sing sea chanteys, make rolled beeswax candles, and hand-paint their own ceramic ornaments.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year…” ~Charles Dickens

Discerning guests will delight in the new Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera “Trial By Jury” in the Victoria & Albert Bijou Music Hall. Afterwards, meet in the Bohemian Absinthe Bar for lively conversation, or at Mad Sal’s Dockside Ale House to sing raucous favorites and watch high-kicking dancers perform the “Can-Can Bijou.” The extremely popular and outrageous “Saucy French Postcards Tableaux Revue” returns to the Victoria & Albert Bijou Music Hall during “Dickens After Dark” - a popular twilight-hour entertainment to delight adults over 18.

Bring your appetite when you visit The Great Dickens Christmas Fair— there's ever so much to eat and drink! Feast on delicious foods from the British Empire and beyond, from exquisite savories such as fish 'n chips to heavenly handcrafted chocolates and tea cakes. You may also want to visit one of the five traditional pubs to enjoy a frothy pint of ale, fine wine, bubbly champagne, hot buttered rum, Irish coffee, or hot toddy. You can also enjoy a traditional English high tea with scones and finger sandwiches – anytime is teatime at the Dickens Fair.

“Lavish profusion is in the shops…” ~Charles Dickens

Shop for the perfect holiday gift and revel in a wonderland of one-of-a-kind artisan treasures. Nearly 100 beautiful shops and carts offer fine crafts, fanciful clothing and accessories, ceramics, elegant drinkware, stunning jewelry, toys, ornaments, antiquarian books, and more.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair was originally produced by Ron and Phyllis Patterson in 1970, inspired by their successful Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which they brought to the San Francisco Bay Area during the Summer of Love in 1967. The next generation, Kevin and Leslie Patterson now joined by their grown sons Andrew and Michael, have produced the Fair since 2000, continuing a 50-year family tradition of deeply immersive, historically authentic environmental theater.

“What a wonder it has been to create the Great Dickens Christmas Fair for 35 seasons,” says Executive Director Kevin Patterson. “We ring in the holiday spirit with a talented community of more than 800 performers bringing to life the imagination and times of Charles Dickens. The delight and surprise of our guests adds to the scene – where merriment is how we measure our success.”

Ticketing and Other Pertinent Information:

Select-Day Ticketing ~ Reserve your day early!

Tickets Go On Sale in Early September

To ensure the comfort of all guests, there will be a limited number of tickets available for each day of the Fair. As with many other theatrical events, 'Select Day' tickets must be purchased for the actual day you wish to attend.

After tickets sell out for any given day, there will be no more tickets available for that day, so purchase early to ensure you are able to attend on the day(s) you prefer. Although all tickets are non-refundable, they are fully transferable to another person.

Early Bird Sale runs thru October 15: Save $7.00 per Adult Ticket & $4.00 per Child Ticket for the first two weekends!

Early Bird Pricing available for the first two weekends only at through October 15.

  • Adult Tickets (13+ yrs.) "Early Bird" discount price: $23.00. Valid Nov. 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26.
  • Child Tickets (5-12 yrs.) "Early Bird" discount price: $10.00. Valid Nov. 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26
  • Children under 5 years are free.

Admission Prices at the Gate (if tickets are available)

  • Adult/General Admission (13+): $30.00
  • Children (5-12 yrs): $14.00
  • Children under 5 are always free
  • Pickwick Club 2018 Season Pass: Available online through Dec. 16 at $120.00 per pass, plus a convenience fee charged by Eventbrite (a $390.00 value!).
  • Adult Twilight Tickets, valid after 3:00 PM: $18.00 (available at the box office only)
  • Child Twilight Tickets, valid after 3:00 PM: $10.00 (available at the box office only)

Group Tickets: For groups of 20 or more, please contact Golden Gate Group Tickets: [email protected] or 415-668-0525. 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 protected]

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 17th and 18th. Your RSVP to Denise Lamott at [email protected] or (415) 381-8793 is required in advance. Digital images, media passes, promotional tickets for 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 17 and runs Saturdays and Sundays (plus the Friday after Thanksgiving) through December 23, 2018, 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM

WHERE: The Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City, CA

All tickets are Select-Day. Visit to reserve your day at the Fair!
General Admission
(13+): $30.00
Children ages 5-12: $14.00
Children under 5: Free
Early Bird Sale runs early September thru October 15 ~ Save $7.00 per Adult Ticket & $4.00 per Child Ticket for the first two weekends
Fair Season Pass: $120.00 adult
Group Tickets: For groups of 20 or more, contact [email protected], 415-668-0525


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 $3 discount off one adult ticket! Toys will be given to the Daly City Fire Department's "Operation Santa Claus" toy drive, now in its 69th year of bringing holiday cheer to Daly City/Colma/Broadmoor families.

Active Military: 1st & 2nd Weekends Free Admission
Active Military personnel will receive FREE Admission on First and Second Weekends!
(November 17, 18, 23, 24, 25 only; photo I.D. required.) See website for details.

The Scrooge Special (twilight ticket offer; available only at the box office)
Adult Twilight Tickets, available after 3pm: $18.00
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!

"Kids Free Sunday" November 25
Children (5-12 years old) will receive FREE admission on "Kids Free Sunday" - November 25. Children under five are always free.

Parking available for $12 (charged by the Cow Palace).