The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party

Applaud and cheer for the astounding Christmas pantomime, upon one of seven stages at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party! Photo: Beppe Sabatini

DALY CITY – It’s the season for twinkling lights, carols… and Ebenezer Scrooge. Few settings evoke more Christmas spirit than Victorian England. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party in Daly City will transport you back to this iconic place and time.

Each weekend, now through December 17th, the three acres of the Cow Palace in Daly City transform into the streets of Old London as brought to life by Charles Dickens in his novels, including A Christmas Carol. During this themed Fair, which is in its 35th season, you can mix and mingle with over 800 costumed characters from literature and history, like Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, Nicholas Nickelby, David Copperfield and even Her Majesty Queen Victoria (don’t forget to bow or curtsey!). Robert Peel’s “Peelers” even patrol the lamp-lit lanes to keep you safe from the likes of Oliver Twist’s Bill Sikes and the pickpockets in Fagin’s gang.

Applaud the high kicks and saucy frillies of the Can-Can Bijou, at Mad Sal’s Dockside Ale House at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. Photo credit: Rich Yee

Other diversions and entertainment abound, as The Fair has continuous performances taking place on seven different stages. On one stage, you can enjoy scenes from A Christmas Carol and at another, you can watch the kilt-clad Siamsa Scottish & Irish Dancers stepping lively to festive Highland tunes. If you’re so inclined, you can even kick up your heels at Fezziwig’s Dance Party.

Children will want to go to the Father Christmas Stage to hear Christmas favorites sung, and, of course, to see the jolly old man himself. Naturally, good little boys and girls are welcome to tell him their Christmas wishes. There is also a Toy Parade and a Punch and Judy Show performed by the Piccolo Puppet Players.

Ward off a chill with a toddy from one of the five different pubs, whose offerings include hot buttered rum, beer, and craft ales from local breweries. Food vendors will also be on hand with sweets and exotic Greek food. Or you can sample some of the traditional fare of the British Empire, like roasted chestnuts, fish ‘n’ chips, and Yorkshire pudding. If you’d like to take high tea, make a reservation at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe. Please note that the food shops do not take credit cards. Either bring cash or use an on-site ATM.

For anyone who needs to complete – or begin – their Christmas shopping, one-of-a-kind artisans will be present. You’ll find handcrafted ceramics and glass, toys, personalized ornaments, clothing, jewelry, leather, and candles. With such a wide variety of unique goods available, hopefully you can cross that hard-to-buy-for someone off of your list. May your Christmas be merry, and, if you attend the Dickens Fair, literary!

If you go: The Fair is located at the Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City. Open Saturday and Sunday, 10am-7pm, now through December 17. Adult tickets $30, children ages 5-12 $14, children under 5 are free. Discounted twilight tickets are available at the door for admission after 3pm. Parking is $12.
The Fair is wheelchair accessible.

For more information and a complete entertainment schedule, visit

Your Town Daycations is a series featured in the print edition of Your Town Monthly. This article was originally published in the December 2017 editions.

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