Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Great  Dickens Christmas Fair director Kevin Patterson, right, greet guests on the first weekend of the holiday attraction at the Cow Palace. (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Great Dickens Christmas Fair director Kevin Patterson, right, greet guests on the first weekend of the holiday attraction at the Cow Palace. (Leslie Katz/S.F. Examiner)

Victorian Christmas in full swing at Dickens fair at the Cow Palace

Charles Dickens, greeting guests in his home at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair in its first weekend at the Cow Palace in Daly City, wouldn’t name which of his books is favorite.

“That would be like asking a mother about her children, but I’m told by readers that they like ‘A Christmas Carol,’” said the literary great, whose Victorian world supplies the setting for the interactive living history theatrical attraction.

On Sunday, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert briefly stopped by Tavistock House, Dickens’ London residence, where tea (complete with cucumber sandwiches and mincemeat tarts) was being served. German-born Albert, admiring the Christmas tree, shared how he helped introduce to the holiday tradition to England.

Also on hand for tea service was Kevin Patterson, 21st century executive director of the Dickens’ fair, son of founders Ron and Phyllis Patterson, who also created the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

“There’s nothing else like this anywhere,” said Patterson, who has continued the family business, producing the fair – a 20,000-square foot “city” with music halls, pubs, dance floors and shops selling clothing, jewelry, knives, glass and more — with his wife and children since 2000.

He said the fair’s ongoing success has much to do with its hundreds of enthusiastic, educated, experienced volunteers dedicated to re-creating the era with authenticity.

Mentioning that the fair, liking Burning Man, is something difficult to describe, and must be experienced to get its full effect, Patterson has this suggestion for first-time visitors: “Get lost in it – it’s as big as London.”

IF YOU GO
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Where: Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday-Sundays (plus Friday Nov. 23); through Dec. 23
Tickets: $10 to $30; $12 parking
Contact: dickensfair.com
Theater

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Ali Jamalian, whose life was disrupted in the wake of being charged with possession decades ago, now heads up Sunset Connect, a cannabis manufacturing company. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Green Rush: Cannabis equity program elevates unexpected entrepreneurs

‘It’s a form of reparations for those of us who were ruined by cannabis arrest’

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

San Francisco supervisors approved zoning changes that will allow a chain grocery store to occupy the bottom floor of the 555 Fulton St. condo building. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Trader Joe’s approved for Hayes Valley, bringing long-awaited grocery store

New Seasons Market canceled plans at 555 Fulton St. citing construction delays

Shek-Woon Ng, 107, who retired at 99 from his acupuncture practice in San Francisco’s Chinatown, got a COVID-19 vaccination in June. <ins>(Courtesy Sky Link TV)</ins>
Lesson from a 107-year-old man who is now fully vaccinated

One in four seniors in S.F.’s Chinatown have not been inoculated

Most Read