A Dickens fair, Dickens Christmas fair, or Dickens festival is weekend or multi-weekend gathering, usually held in the United States, open to the public and typically commercial in nature, which attempts to recreate a Victorian English setting reminiscent of the novels of Charles Dickens. Events may be outdoor, indoor or a combination of the two. The great majority are Christmas-themed, a reflection of the enduring legacy of Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol. The fairs generally include an abundance of costumed entertainers and fair-goers, musical and theatrical acts, and art, handicrafts, food and drink for sale.
Dramatic and musical entertainment, artisan demonstrations, dancing, parades, and lectures or discussions on literary or historical topics may be part of the events. Costumed entertainers are likely to impersonate characters from Dickens' novels, as well as historical figures such as Queen Victoria.
History of the fairs in the United States
Ron Patterson and his wife Phyllis, started the first "Renaissance Pleasure Faire" in southern California in 1963, making it an annual event beginning in spring 1966. Five years later they initiated a fall renaissance fair event in the San Francisco Bay Area with a harvest theme. These traditions took root locally and spread across the country. They then launched the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco, an indoor event, in 1970. This has also inspired similar events across the U.S.
- Zavoral, Linda. "Annual Dickens Fair chases the Scrooge away". The Mercury News. Bay Area News Group. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- Thomas, Peter; Kember, Michael; Sneed, Richard J (1987), The Faire: Photographs and History of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire from 1963 onwards, The Good Book Press, OCLC 26491008.
- Rachel Lee Rubin (22 February 2014). Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture. NYU Press. ISBN 978-1-4798-5972-6. OCLC 940886737.
- Lipsky, Jessica (2016-12-15). "What the Hell Is The Dickens Fair, the Christmas Tradition in Daly City?". Thrillist. Group Nine Media Inc. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
- Swift, Simon (2007-04-18), "What the Dickens?", The Guardian, London.
- Addley, Esther (19 April 2007). "High times aboard the sewer boat ride to the slums". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Pyman, Tom (12 October 2016). "Popular tourist attraction closes as staff 'told of redundancies via social media'". Kent News Online. KOS Media, Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 13 October 2016.