The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is held every year during the winter holiday season at the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls in San Francisco. For $25/$30 a person, you can enjoy an entire day taking in old London. If you take the BART from anywhere to Glenn Park, they have a shuttle that transports attendees FOR FREE from the BART to Cow Palace. From traditional foods to fencing entertainment, it’s non-stop English fun! There’s loose hay on the ground. Each vendor’s booth look like old buildings or wagons or horse drawn carts. Messenger boys and men run around trying to get telegraphs out to attendees and employees. I would say about 75% of the attendees are dressed appropriate for the theme of the event, making the modern folk really stick out like sore thumbs. I was really glad I wore my maiden braids that day, but sad I was dressed so normally. 🙁
My mom has been trying to organize a trip to this fair for us for YEARS. For one reason or another, the timing just never worked out. This year, we managed to get time out of schedules to make a day trip! We even ended up staying longer than intended because we were have too good of a time. We had some of the best food, too! We got fish, oysters and chips from HMS Fish & Chips, and I got a Laguintas Daytime IPA. Everything tasted so fresh and full of flavor.
We proceeded to spend the next 7 hours 100% overwhelmed by everything around us. There was no talking for the majority of the trip. Just wide-eyed looks mixed with ooo’s and aww’s at everything around us. I honestly felt like I was in a scene from Harry Potter or Doctor Who. It was great. Nearly everyone used a British accent and every parting ended with a “Happy Christmas” greeting from the shopkeepers. I got a bar of soap for a friend from one vendor, and 4 bars of soap and some body oil for myself from another vendor called House of Wormwood who sells HARRY POTTER INSPIRED EVERYTHING. It was majestic and fantasical. We tried to get into the tea party but all the reservations were booked up. I highly recommend trying to book a spot Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe before making your trip to the fair. You get to keep your tea pot and have fun little snacks and everything! It’s rad. I was jealous of everyone who had reservations. We still got cups to go and some scones, but it’s just not the same as sitting down at a table and joying a cuppa.
If you’re a fan of all things English and British and old and homemade and handmade, you HAVE to check this fair out. One solid day will do you perfectly. There’s a ton of things for the little one’s to enjoy, too. There is a fairy house building booth when you get a starter house and all the fixings to make it magical. There was an old school carousel suspending from these massive pipes with these adorable custom horses. Every 30 minutes to an hour a new show is showing somewhere on the grounds, and there’s probably 4-6 stages in total it seemed. Around 5:30/6p they start booting the little ones out so all the adults can have more fun. I believe it involves drinking. Possibly dancing, too. It was a Sunday when we went so we had to bail out fairly early and make the trek back home.
Hoping to have the video put together this weekend of our trip, so be on the look out for that video next week on my channel!
They were nice enough to have a map posted in every section of the fair, but it was so overwhelming that you still ended up lost. So many sights and sounds and people and things!
This particular shopkeep was selling ornament that he would handwrite family surnames or member’s names onto. That’s my mom in the white sweater buying one for her little tree with little penguins on it! It was too cute.
IT’S THE QUEEN! ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!
These ladies were amazing. They posed as mannequins, and the realization on people’s faces as they figured out they were real people was great! This was outfit change number 3 that I saw. The would change outfits and poses every so often. This shop sold corsets and other lady garments.
Until next year!