After a two-year hiatus, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party returned for five weekends to the historic Cow Palace in Daly City this November and December. The family-friendly holiday fair takes place on Saturdays and Sundays (as well as the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 25) from November 19 through December 18, 2022, and offers visitors a delightfully immersive holiday experience unlike any other.
An annual Bay Area tradition for nearly 40 years, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair features hundreds of costumed Victorian characters, from waltzing royals to scrappy chimney-sweeps, who populate over four acres of twilight-lit shops, pubs, stages, and dance halls. At the Dickens Fair, it’s always Christmas Eve in 19th-century London.
This year the fair has expanded to include the new Vauxhall Gardens, a 50,000-square foot Victorian park-like area with a 2,800-square foot skating rink with synthetic ice, Christmas trees for sale, refreshments like hot apple cider for purchase, and more . Admission to Vauxhall Gardens is free to the public (parking fee still applies); Unlimited skate time costs $12 for adults and $6 for children 3-8 and includes skate rental.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair offers a variety of entertainments for all ages and tastes. Enjoy and all new traditional Christmas pantomime with The Tale of Puss in Boots, step back into Christmas past of Ebenezer Scrooge at Fezziwig’s Christmas Party, and marvel at the deductive skills of famed sleuth Sherlock Holmes. Families can also take part in hands-on craft activities, old-world games of skill and chance, and lively interactive shows.
The Tinsley Green Children’s Area and Father Christmas Stage will entertain and delight; youngsters can meet Old Father Christmas, ride on the hand-powered Adventure Carousel, have tea with characters from Alice in Wonderland, and laugh at the antics of an authentic British Punch and Judy puppet show. Kids can also construct a whimsical Fairy House, learn how to run an 1860s printing press, sing sea chanteys, and take fencing lessons.
The fair also features delicious foods from the British Empire and beyond, from pub fare like fish and chips and bangers and mash to handcrafted chocolates and tea cakes to Indian fare. You can also enjoy a traditional English tea with scones and finger sandwiches at Cuthbert’s Tea Shop. (Make a reservation in advance to make sure you get a teatime table!)
The fair takes place November 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27 and December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, and 18, 2022; Hours are 10 am to 6 pm. General admission to the Great Dickens Christmas Fair is $45 for adults and $25 for youth aged 5 to 12. Twilight tickets, for admission after 3 pm, cost $30 for adults and $18 for youth. Children under 5 are always free. Advance tickets are required. Purchase tickets online here. Parking costs $15 per car, payable at the gate.
The Cow Palace is located at 2600 Geneva Avenue in Daly City. For more information, online tickets, and a full schedule of entertainment and events, visit dickensfair.com.