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 for Press, & performer appearances available!  [Download 2018 Press Release as PDF]


Christmas is close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it is 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 - (August 27, 2018) The historic Cow Palace will once again be transformed into Dickens’ London for The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party. Now in its 36th season, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair will run Saturdays and Sundays (as well as the Friday after Thanksgiving) from November 17 through December 23, 2018, offering visitors a delightfully immersive holiday experience without rival.

An annual tradition for Bay Area natives and visitors alike, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is an enchanting journey through a merrier era – the streets of Victorian London circa Christmas 1860. Visitors will explore twilight-lit streets with shops, pubs, stages and dance halls filled with more than 800 Victorian characters and the aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty fare.

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." ~ Charles Dickens

Visitors can choose from seven stages offering entertainment for all ages and tastes. Family-friendly entertainment abounds, from dancing at Fezziwig’s, to dashing sword-fighting in “All’s Well That Ends Badly” and the holiday pantomime “The Surprising Tale of Baron Munchausen and Mopsa the Fairy.” If your tastes lean more towards the naughty and salty, head down to the dockside and join the Cancan dancers and sailors at the bawdy Mad Sal’s Music Hall.

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 in the Tinsley Green Children’s Area. Young audience members will cheer the hero and jeer the villain at the children’s melodrama,  join Alice at the Mad Hatters’ Tea Party, or learn the tricks of the chimney-sweep trade from the Miracle Sweeps of London School. A delightful addition to the usual holiday entertainments, youngsters can meet Old Father Christmas each day at one o’clock on the Father Christmas Stage, ride on a hand-powered Adventure Carousel, cheer the Toy Parade, and laugh at the antics of an authentic British Punch & Judy puppet show.

Guests will welcome the return of the Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera “Trial By Jury” in the Victoria & Albert Bijou Music Hall – one of the most successful one-act operettas of all time telling the story of ludicrous circumstances played out by characters who behave as if the events are perfectly normal. Be astounded by the world premiere of “Dr. Xander T. Culpepper’s Miracle Elixir Show Of Miracles,” but don’t expect to walk away with any of his miracle magical tonic; demand is simply too high! Also on the Pennygaff Stage, fresh from a year studying at the Royal Shakespeare Company, we welcome back the buffoonery of London’s most hilariously silly chimney sweep, Jim Chiminey!

Experience Mr. Dickens’ wonderful stories portrayed by hundreds of Living History characters throughout the streets. Encounter Mr. Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Oliver Twist, Nancy, and many more of Mr. Dickens’ characters. You might even see Queen Victoria herself as she and her court progress through London. Then join Mr Samuel Pickwick himself and his fellow "Pickwickians" as they tour London, spreading hilarity and mirth. Stop by the illustrious Adventurers’ Club, Dickens Family Parlour, Great Exhibition Stage, genius inventor Professor Flockmocker’s Workshop, and the internationally themed Silk Road Stage for exotic dance and special musical guest appearances.

Catch a song or two at the Paddy West School of Seamanship, then stroll down to Mad Sal’s Dockside Ale House where Mad Sal herself will be hosting bold new talents as well as bawdy favorites like the high-kicking dancers of the Le Cancan Bijou in the Mad Sal’s Dockside Music Hall. The gentlemen of Brass Farthing lift a frothy good ale with their rollicking songs and the ladies of The Gin Alley Sallys musically include you in their ‘Society for the Appreciation of Libation and Spirits.’  Later in the day, the extremely popular and outrageous “Saucy French Postcards Tableaux Revue” returns to delight adults over 18 with “Gods & Heroes,” a new episode in the private lives of Horatio and Letitia Everard.

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

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 traditional 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 proper English High Tea with scones and finger sandwiches—anytime is teatime at the Dickens Fair.

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

Discover the perfect holiday gift or treat for yourself at one of 100 beautiful shops and carts offering fine crafts, fanciful clothing and accessories, ceramics, elegant drinkware, stunning jewelry, toys, ornaments, antiquarian books, and more.

New shops this year include the Blumenschein Flower Guild who craft classic Victorian corsages and McPherson Knives, crafter and tradesman of handmade knives and blades. Additional new purveyors include Salt Pedlars, with exotic tasty treasures from their worldly travels, and Farthingale’s offering fine fabrics, books and notions, as well as Samiah’s Caravan, makers of exquisite garments handcrafted with the finest materials.  

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.

“Each year we are inspired to be better than ever and are rewarded with the delight and surprise of our guests,” says Executive Director Kevin Patterson. “The holiday spirit of Charles Dickens and his London flourishes for several weeks – and we revel in the merriment and good cheer of all who attend.”

Ticketing and Other Pertinent Information:

Select-Day Ticketing ~ Reserve your day early!

Tickets Go On Sale September 4th

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 September 4 - 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. 17, 18, 23, 24 & 25.
  • Child Tickets (5-12 yrs.) "Early Bird" discount price: $10.00. Valid Nov. 17, 18, 23, 24 & 25.
  • 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. 9 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)
  • 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 69th year of bringing holiday cheer to less fortunate families in the Daly City/Colma/Broadmoor area.

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 convenient, 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, within the Fair, 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

are Select-Day. Visit to reserve your preferred date(s)!
General Admission
(13+): $30.00
Children ages 5-12: $14.00
Children under 5: Free
Early Bird Sale runs early September 4 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 $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 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.)

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!

Parking available for $12 (charged by the Cow Palace).
The Fair offers a convenient, free shuttle from the Glen Park BART station.