Sunday, December 22, 2013

What the Dickens! - A Bit of Christmas, Victorian Style

Last week-end we went to the Dickens Fair in San Francisco with friends. It was like actually entering the Victorian world. More than 700 costumed players took part in the event, and many visitors dressed in Victorian costume to enter into the spirit of things. I wasn't always sure when I was speaking to an actor or to an enthusiast, which added to the overall "magical" effect of the day. Everyone, of course, spoke with an English accent, confusing me at first, until I "got it".

A rather complacent fellow.

A  convivial lass.

Let the celebration begin!
 Take a look at these folks. They were, no doubt, some of the actors. And they played their roles convincingly.

Dickens and friend stopping for a
photo. Very accommodating.

My friend, Susan, spied on Charles Dickens at his meal: A short
time later, Rajan and I encountered the Great Man himself:
The Dickens' enjoying supper.

The Great Man himself.

Unbeknownst to Dickens (we peeked in the window), after he left the house, the butler and maid were preparing to sit at his table to enjoy a bit of their own cheer. The gentleman at the door, watching Dickens leave, didn't seem to bea bit  aware of this.

Sly maid.

Abetting butler.

Oblivious gentleman.

Dickens was not the only famous man we met, however. I was amazed, as we wandered down Nickleby Road, to encounter another famous person. Well. Two famous people—none other than that most renowned detective and his literary colleague. Yes! Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson!

Sherlock, pondering a case.

Pondering it in depth you
might say.

Watson seemed to ponder it, too.

You may not
believe this, but as
savvy as Sherlock Holmes is, he didn't seem to get what a blog is. And he acted like he had never heard of Facebook.
I mean, really?

Still, when the Phantom of the Opera clued me in and suggested the duo might be amenable to being featured in The Strand, they concurred. Holmes and Watson, please think of this as a feature article in The Strand.
The Phantom, cluing me in.
On and on we wandered, through lanes and alleys, and even the London Docks! And what a busy place THAT was!
It's a hard life at the docks.  You
drink a lot. And you make friends
with parrots.

Tempers can still be touchy.

But, a little song and dance helps.

       There was a surprise at the docks, though. The fellow in red you see below claimed to be a Baron. He said he was organizing an expedition to America, and would I like to come along? He said his intentions were honorable, but he didn't invite my husband . .  . Doesn't that sound suspicious?
Baron Karl Friedrich
Hieronymus Von Münchausen
 and his seagoing friend.

The Baron explains about the expedition.
The matey's expression makes me think
the Baron isn't telling everything.

An honorable baron? What
do you think?
I thought he looked a little sly, myself. So . . , Rajan and I moseyed on, encountering some interesting people on the way:
A couple working out a spat.

A fanatic.

Someone doing Xmas shopping.

A violinist inside a violin shoppe.

Someone chatting with a bartender.

Hungry diners.

Waltzers at Fezziwig's Dance Party.
There was some Polka, too.

A puppeteer for a rather . . . creepy
puppet show. The puppets were monsters
And not least of all, when we went for lunch with our friends in Pickwick Place, my friend, Susan was able to snap a picture of the Queen in a procession that was most impressive. You know how processions can be. We could barely get a glimpse. Still, Susan managed to catch a quick picture on theat invention of the future, the Smart Phone. (Ah, if only Sherlock could have seen this happen, he would have been out of his mind with excitement. Next year, Sherlock, I promise to come clean that I'm not really from The Strand, but am from the future.) Because next year we will return for sure.
The Queen - Victoria, that is.

Thanks friends, for stopping by. Have you ever been to the Dickens Fair? Which character in this collection did you find the most interesting?


  1. I haven't heard of the Dickens Fair but it sounds like an enchanting place to visit during the Christmas season. I like all the photos. I suppose the "honorable" Baron intrigued me the most, because - as you said - the expression on his face looks a little less than honorable.......

    Many thanks for your kind comment on my blog.

  2. Hi, Jon, thanks for stopping by. Yeah. I wonder about that Baron. He kinda looks like a pirate all dressed up.

  3. How perfectly fun. Great pictures. It makes me want to get there for sure one of these years and take my grandkids. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  4. Rosi, your grandkids would love it! There were lots of kids dressed up in Victorian clothes. I can imagine Gehrig wearing a newsboy's cap. :-)

  5. Hi. Saw this post earlier and meant to come back. Have never been to the Dickens Fair (!), but I have family in California, so now thinking I HAVE to do this next year. The baron is up to mischief, I think :) What a treat at Christmastime. Thanks, and Merry Christmas to you!

  6. Hi, Sharon. I think you would have a really good time at the Dickens Fair. My husband and I are planning to go again next year and stay longer. We didn't have time to see all of the little plays and skits and musical numbers they performed. And we didnt' have time to linger at each stall.

    Hi, Peaches, Merry Christmas to you, too. Hope your day was great and that you have a good 2014 shaping up.

  7. Looks like a great bit of fun! Fabulous pictures!

  8. Thanks, Ruth. Fun is the word. I had heard about the Dickens Fair for years, but had no idea what a thorough recreation of Dickens' world it would be.

  9. These are some cool pictures!
    Who doesn't love Dickens? I think most writers look up to him ;)
    Wishing you and your loved ones an amazing 2014!!!!!

  10. Thanks, Claudia, and a very Happy New Year to you and yours as well!

  11. This seems so fun! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hi, Gina, thanks for stopping by. We plan to go again, now that we've discovered it. :-)

  13. Like the sound of The Dickens Fair ... what a fun way to do a Christmas event. Great pictures.

  14. Hi, Mary, it was a good way to get into the spirit. They had little Victorian era boutiques throughout, and I actually did a little Xmas shopping.

  15. Wow, what an interesting fair. I have never been to one.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Hi, Theresa, thanks for stopping by. I never had, either. I've heard so much about Rennaisance Fairs, but never been to the Dickens Fair. I was expecting something much smaller.

  16. Oh my word I so want to go after seeing the pictures. ^_^

    1. Hi, Misha, we want to go again too. Go again, and stay longer.