The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party
2020 Season Postponed Join Us in 2021 at the Historic Cow Palace!
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party


We are not accepting applications for the 2020 event (cancelled). Please check back in Spring 2021 for updated information. Thank you for your interest.
Please note that you must have previously attended the Fair in order to be eligible for consideration as a vendor. Please email [email protected] for further information.

Please print the application on white 8-1/2 x 11 paper on a color printer, if possible. Then follow the instructions and return your application postmarked by the application deadline.

We are offering two versions of the New Merchant Application PDF to download -- use the first link if you prefer to fill out your information entirely by hand. If you prefer to type your information into the PDF, then print it out before signing it, use the version with fill-out fields.

We will light the streets from above with hundreds of colored lights concealed in the ceiling gridwork. This will provide a warm and glowing twilight ambiance, and enough of this light will spill over to illuminate the exterior of your booths. You need only provide lighting for the interior (including display windows) and your exterior signage.

We are allocating a maximum of 10 amps (1200 watts) per booth. All of this power, however, must be used for lighting (except in catering booths). Appliances (heaters, hot plates, crock pots, coffee pots, TVs etc.) are not allowed, so that we may devote all available power to lighting.

In designing the lighting for your booth, your goal should be to invite (entice!) the public to enter. This is best accomplished by creating a warm glow inside, with no glare shining outside. To achieve this, here are several suggestions:

  • Use many low-wattage bulbs rather than a few large ones.
  • Use small reflector flood and spot bulbs which aim light in one direction, rather than standard household bulbs that shine in all directions at once. (This will enable you to concentrate light on the areas to which you wish to bring focus, such as display windows and counters. The light level in the streets is intentionally low to make your glowing booth interiors that much more inviting).
  • By no means should you feel compelled to necessarily use the maximum of 10 amps. In a small booth, it is more than you need, and use of too much light in too small an area will jump your ambiance from "glow" to "glare" and may actually discourage people from entering your booth.
  • Shield all spot and floodlights from public view by placing wood baffles in front of them.
  • Spot and floodlights are more effective when aimed down from concealed locations. Victorian-looking fixtures such as chandeliers and wall sconces are an excellent choice when used for decorative purposes (rather than area illumination) and should be equipped with small flicker bulbs and/or frosted chimneys so that no modern looking bulbs are visible.
  • Keep all fabric away from light fixtures; even when it is fireproof, it will still scorch.
  • Choose darker colors for exterior walls, lighter colors (paint or wallpaper) for interiors.
  • An effective way to illuminate exterior signs is by hanging brass lanterns next to them.
  • Do not use Christmas Tree lights; they are not Victorian. Candles or oil lamps, on the other hand, although thoroughly Victorian, are forbidden for safety reasons.
  • Use only three-wire extension cords (no two-wire cords) of adequate wire size for the load you plug in.
  • Make sure that no cords or wires are visible to the public.
  • Free-standing carts are best lit by use of a self-contained 12-volt system. This usually means having a deep cycle 12 volt storage battery concealed under the cart with small 12 volt lights hidden under a top canopy. You can charge your storage battery overnight at the site (usually in place); we will help you with this.
  • Use only approved wiring methods. All wiring must conform to electrical codes and is subject to inspection.

We will provide advice and assistance on request to help you choose appropriate fixtures, materials, and wiring methods. It is wise to ask us before you buy fixtures, bulbs, and supplies. We not only know what will work; we know where to buy it inexpensively.

Dickens Lights web2014

We are not accepting applications for the 2020 event (cancelled). Please check back in the Spring of 2021 for updated information.
Please note that you must have previously attended the Fair in order to be eligible for consideration as a vendor. Please email [email protected] for further information.

for Returning Merchants:

Please see the Returning Merchant Application page.

for New Merchants:

If you are interested in applying for the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, please read the information below. We are not accepting applications for the 2020 event (cancelled). Please check back in Spring 2021 for updated information. We do not keep lists of interested parties.

The fair is a theatrical re-creation of nineteenth-century London with all the color, charm, and merriment of Christmas during the time of Charles Dickens. The air is filled with enticing aromas of festive foods and the sounds of street vendors hawking their wares. The streets are filled with characters from Dickens' A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, and Nicholas Nickelby, not to mention Mr. Dickens himself. First-time vendors should be aware that this is a highly themed street fair, designed to create a total immersion environment. All booth workers need to help us maintain the public's illusion by staying in costume and learning a bit of English cockney. The magic of the Dickens Fair, and what sets it apart, is the detailed theatrical setting we create together and the sense of ensemble and Christmas spirit put forth by all participants.

Before You Apply:
  1. Make sure you have previously attended the event.
  2. Read thru the application once it is available in Spring, for rules and regulations: New Merchant Application page
  3. Study the photo galleries available on our website for ideas and scope of the project:
  4. Make sure your product is in keeping with the handmade Victorian ideal:
  5. Review the costume guidelines:
  6. Review the suggested language guidelines:
  7. Review the booth building guidelines:

It is important to understand that we are looking for unique HANDMADE products and prefer one product/one booth style submissions. Booths range in size from 10 x 10 to over 16 x 20. Carts are aprox. 4 x 8.

The time commitment for anyone participating as a merchant will be from early November through early January. The actual time commitment depends on your personal build and removal from the site. The actual dates of the event varies and will be on the application.

Thank you for your interest.