Join us in 2023 for Five Weekends Nov. 18 - Dec. 17, 10am - 6pm at the Historic Cow Palace!

Prepare for the Fair

Your Guide for a Day of Play

Are you new to our creation of Dickens’ London? If so, let us provide you with tools you’ll need to find your way around. And, if you’ve visited before, perhaps we might offer a new suggestion or two–a favorite shop or entertainment to enhance your enjoyment.

For the Newcomer & Veteran

Deepen your experience of “Dickens’ London” by preparing for your excursion into the world of Mr. Charles Dickens’ imagination. We recommend the following websites and movies for your pleasure:

The Novels

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind-stone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.” 
~ Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

With this vivid description, we are plunged into Dickens’ world with imagery and charm. Find out what other characters, places and experiences will come to life for you by diving into the original novels, full of stories told as only the master could do. Learn more about each of Dickens’ novels and read them online at:

The Movies

A Christmas Carol

There are so many film adaptations of this story, but one of our all-time favorites is the Alastair Sim version from 1951, now available in a special Collector’s Edition. This edition contains two different versions of this movie, with both the colorized version, and a digitally restored black and white version with 5.1 digital surround, and a widescreen for 16:9 televisions. There are featurettes, commentaries, and even an introduction by Leonard Maltin “Dead to Begin With.”

Another popular favorite is the 1984 version with George C. Scott and David Warner. Aside from the great acting, the street scenes have a look and feel that Dickens Fair set designers have worked hard to recreate.

Oliver Twist

Again, there are so many film adaptations it’s hard to choose, and sadly most versions leave out large chunks of the story, but we very much do like the character portrayals and amazing costumes in the musical “Oliver!”.

And surely not to be missed is the 1948 version with Alec Guinness as Fagin and Anthony Newley as the Artful Dodger.


By far the best is the Patrick Stewart Christmas Carol reading available on iTunes or for purchase through Amazon. It’s truly wonderful and is worth listening to and enjoying over and over.

The “Other Books”

As you partake of this literary bounty, be encouraged to explore the “other books,” out of which you will discover many engaging characters in the streets of the Fair: Nicholas Nickelby, David Copperfield (considered the closest story to the author’s autobiography), The Pickwick Papers, Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend (your editor’s personal favorite), and more. As you wander London Town, you might find yourself tipping your hat or offering a curtsy to any one of the characters found in these marvelous works!

YouTube Links

A Christmas Carol
Oliver Twist

1968 version (due to copyright issues, only selected scenes are available)

Charles Dickens – by The School of Life

An overview of Charles Dickens as writer and social reformer.


Victorian costumes are encouraged but not required for our patrons. Please feel free to ‘come as you are’ to enjoy your adventure into Dickens’ London. Our Victorian Costume Guidelines are very complete and are intended for “Participants” in the event (performers & vendors).  If you are a guest, please enjoy the costume information on this site as a resource to help you get into the spirit and play along at any level you wish. Even a hat or bonnet will make you feel like you are stepping back in time with us! Special note: please do not come dressed as Father Christmas, Ebeneezer Scrooge or other main characters from Dickens’ works. See our public costume policy for more information.

For bespoke mens and women’s corsets, visit: Dark Garden

(Note: Also available by visiting their sumptuous shop in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley ~ enjoy their fabulous “living windows” at the Dickens Fair where you may view their unique designs of quality ~ and be enticed to order your own ‘bespoke’ corsetry for next season!)

“Fan the sinking flame of hilarity with the wing of friendship; and pass the rosy wine.”

~ Charles Dickens, The Old Curiousity Shop

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