November 27, 2018

San Francisco: The Great Dickens Christmas Fair


in Daly City

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair  $30, 5-12 $14; parking $12.  No pets.

Father Christmas at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
Father Christmas at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco

          See "A Christmas Carol" brought to life at this re-creation of Christmas in Victorian London.  After playing spirited parlour games, purchasing some fine yuletide gifts, and feasting on period food and drink (my favorites are the banger sandwich and the hot cider), even the grumpiest Scrooge will capture the season’s spirit.

Charles Dickens at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
Charles Dickens at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco


plate of bangers at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
plate of bangers at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco


characters belly up to the bar at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
characters belly up to the bar at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco

          Special shops include a hair-braiding parlour on Petticoat lane and a children’s clothing shop not far away on Nickelby Road--little girls between the ages of 5 and 8 are in heaven here.  Entertainment is continuous and includes parades, theatrical performances, and caroling--even dancing with Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig and guests at their celebrated party.  And as if this isn't enough, Her Majesty Queen Victoria and consort Prince Albert always attend.  Visitors are encouraged to dress in period costume.

boys paint ornaments at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
boys paint ornaments at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco


ladies get braids at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
ladies get braids at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco


young girl in purple taffeta dress at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
young girl in purple taffeta dress at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco


portrait painter at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
portrait painter at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco


Queen Victoria sips tea at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
Queen Victoria sips tea at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco




          High Tea is served by Cuthbert’s (a private concession) in the Tea Parlour every day at 4 p.m. ($27).  Reservations are required and can be made online or when you arrive at the fair.  If you’d like to see the popular Saucy French Postcards Tableaux Revue, you need to secure a separate free ticket when you arrive at the fair.  Shows are presented daily at 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. for adults over 18 years of age only.

tea time at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco
tea time at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco

Things you’ll want to know:
●A fair map, show schedules, and special Children's Tour are included in the free souvenir program provided as you enter the fair gate (they are also available in advance online).
●The Scrooge Special offers “twilight tickets” after 3 p.m. (adults $18, children $10).
●You can ride BART or Muni to the Glen Park BART Station, then just outside board a free shuttle to and from the fair that runs every half hour from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  I did this myself and found it to be easy and efficient, and the shuttle dropped me right at the entrance to the fair.
          It is hard to believe that it has been more than 35 years since this festive event originated in San Francisco.  More images.



More Bay Area Christmas events.

Way more things to do in San Francisco. 

More ideas for exploring Northern California. 

images and video ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

3 comments:

  1. This is great since my daughter now lives in Livermore, only an hour and a half away! When we visit her we should schedule this! Thanks.

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  2. I was in San Francisco at Christmas time last year, visiting my daughter, who lives there. We had a ball at the San Francisco Dickens Fair! People really get into the spirit of the thing! Highly recommended!

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  3. I went to the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco at least 20 years ago. So nice to see that the fair is still going strong and still fun of holiday fun. What a great way to spend the day.

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