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California: Bay Area fair transports visitors to Dickens' London

Part of the Bay Area will transform itself into Victorian London for five weekends in November and December with the return of the Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party.

This 35-year Bay Area tradition gets underway Nov. 23 at the Cow Palace in Daly City. It continues from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. It’s also open Nov. 29, the Friday after Thanksgiving.

More than 3 acres will be transformed into London circa 1865. As visitors make their way down narrow streets and alleys, they’ll encounter carolers and street performers, perhaps seeing chimney sweeps or Charles Dickens’ Tiny Tim and even Queen Victoria.

Costumed vendors will set up shops selling a variety of Victorian-era wares. Four authentic English pubs will welcome weary travelers, and period music will be performed on seven stages.

The fair was created by Ron and Phyllis Patterson as an educational outing, especially for children, and is now produced by Kevin and Leslie Patterson, their son and daughter-in-law.

“The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is the only event of its kind in the world, a deeply immersive and historically authentic environmental theater,” Kevin Patterson said in a news release.

General admission tickets for adults, available at the box office, cost $25 the first three weekends, then increase to $30. Admission for children ages 5-12  is $12 and kids younger than 5 get in free.

Cow Palace parking costs $10. A free shuttle will link the Glen Park BART station with the fair.

Info: Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party,  (800) 510-1558, Ext. 114.


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