Sent  11/20/14
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2014 - November Missive #6
Notes from your Missive Maven:

Welcome to the opening day of the 36th Annual 

Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party!

"Top of the Morning to you!"


We would like to heartily recognize and shower with adoration, the wonderful, talented and dedicated Dickens Fair crew members who design, build, paint, plumb, illuminate, amplify and decorate London in San Francisco!  Look up! And see the second story painted drops in the Grand Concourse, the painted doorway drops and the many other new elements that stitch together the fabric of our Fair-wide theatrical environment.   Take time to drop in to the fabulous environmental areas such as the Dickens Family Parlor, The Green Man Inn, The Adventurers Club, Paddy West (The London Docks), Flockmockers and the Crystal Palace...All FILLED with fantastic detail! 


A very special thank you to each and every Merchant for all that you do to create beauty and depth and detail to woo and delight our visitors.  


And BRAVO to each of the 780, or more, performers who have honed their theatre craft at workshops and rehearsals, and in the car on the drive in each day.   It is a grand ensemble that carries on the tradition of theatrical living history invented right here!  Admire their fabulous costumes ~ and greet them in the streets and as they pass your shop! 


SO ON WITH THE SHOW!   We can all take pride in the Fair we have created together!


SHOW NOTES: Remember, the lights go out (and the colored lights go on) at 9:35am. At this point, we are a "show time" venue, and you should be dressed and prepared for the guests. Please remember to be quiet outside the Tableau at Fezziwig's, which usually begins about 9:45am (and try to see it for yourself at least once!)  And PLEASE remember to tip your bartenders and food purveyors, be nice to the security guards and have your passes ready.


Have a fabulous opening weekend!

Please remember to contact the folks referenced in each notice above, rather than hitting "reply".

Need to change your email address for or unsubscribe from the missives? Want to read past missives? Please visit this page:

Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director, Missive & Social Media Maven
In This Missive
Rain & Shuttles
Getting Eventbrite Reminders?
Important Notes from Operations
About Tickets - A Refresher
Costume Approvals Opening Weekend
Annie's Cheap Hair Update
Breakfast in Dickens London
Backstage Food Trucks
Wonderful Merchant offerings for Participants Only
Fezziwig's Safety & Courtesy Tips
Christmas Revels Co-Promotion
Dickens Bulletin Articles
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Media Report

Rain & Shuttles


Yup, it's probably going to be wet. There will be tents both above (near gate 11) and below, to shelter you from the rain while you wait for the shuttles, which will run from roughly 8:00AM to 8:00PM.


Getting Eventbrite Reminders?


Getting odd reminders from Eventbrite about your registration? It seems to just be an automated reminder since you signed up for your registration through Eventbrite, and they have the date of the event as tomorrow since we're selling tickets through their site.


Important Notes from Operations 


(from Mark Solum)


Pass House Hours:

Opening Saturday: 8am-4pm
Opening Sunday: 8am-4pm

Lost & Found is at the Cloak Check

All lost and found will be at the Coat Check at the front of the fair.

An item Lost by someone is NOT your happy find to keep.

PLEASE turn in all found items.


Bring Your Meds!  If you take regular medications, please remember to bring them. Thanks!


Please do not use the front gate from 9am to 12 noon -   Use the participant entrance by the pass house.


Always carry your pass - and be prepared to show it.


Will Call opens at 9am.

Participant tickets are only available for purchase at the pass house, not at Will Call.


Be quiet from 9:45 until the tableaux finishes in the Fezziwig's Bay and near the V&A.


Everyone in the backstage green room area - please be quiet - you are right behind a stage.


No one without a pass is allowed backstage, in the annex or back breezeway.

Don't escort friends/ past participants backstage. Big Liability.


About Tickets - A Refresher


(from Kevin Patterson)

The 2014 Dickens Christmas Fair ticket prices are exactly the same in every category as last year:  Primary Adult Box Office price is $25 for weekends 1 - 3.  This increases for the final two weekends to $30.   This is designed to balance attendance between the early and late weekends.   ALL discounts expire after 3rd weekend, EXCEPT participant (and Group) tickets .  

Participant Tickets - at only $15 for Adults and $8 for Children - are the best price available, especially on the last two weekends when they will be half off! Participant tickets are good ANY weekend. The ONLY less expensive ticket will be the Adult Twilight Special (after 4 PM) of $13 and the Child Twilight of $8.  Remember, you may purchase Participant Tickets at the Pass House anytime (cc accepted), but please try to come at times when there is no line.
Tickets for the general public are available on Eventbrite (via all the way thru the final day of the Fair.   The "advance sale" discounts ($3 off) will end at midnight 11/21 (this Friday).  Group sales of 20-29 tickets will continue thru the run via Eventbrite.   Groups of more than 30 are available by contacting Golden Gate Group Tickets (see website tickets page).  

Thank you!



Costume Approvals Opening Weekend

(from Liz Martin)

Costume approval will continue through opening weekend (and longer as necessary).
The shop will open daily at 8 am. 
Opening weekend  there will be 2 lines: 1 for vendors and 1 for performers. Please be patient - we are all aware that it is opening day and that the show cannot open without you. 
We will be taking photos opening weekend. Getting approvals done so that people can get their passes  are the first priority If we can we will take your photo when you check in.  If not , Please come back after 1 to have your picture taken.
Again, thank you all for making this the best looking Dickens Fair yet!



Annie's Cheap Hair Update


(from Annie Lore)


Annie sez: Unless you got notified of an item out of stock, you can pick up your hair order at the Cow Palace this weekend. Susie Brody is hosting the pickup box, which has the pieces bagged and tagged in alphabetical order (at least they start that way); use the doorway between Madame Louise's and Haberdashery, which is marked "Accessories" (unless things have changed vastly). You can ask for Susie, but pretty much anyone there can direct you to the box-- they know that "I need hair!" expression. Best to do this when the fair isn't open, of course. If you expect to be at the site on Friday, Susie will be around setting up, so you can pick up starting about 2:00. 

Contact Annie Lore at with any questions. Thanx!

Breakfast in Dickens London

(from Leslie Patterson)



Every Morning 7:30-9:30


Breakfast Burritos:

All come with rice and beans on the side!!!

Mexican: Chorizo, eggs, and potatoes $5

Meat lovers: Ham, cheese, eggs and potatoes $6

Vegetarian: Cheese, eggs and potatoes $4


American: Ham, cheese, eggs and potatoes $5


Choose any 3 items $5!!!

Chorizo con Huevos: Chorizo and eggs with rice and beans

Ham and eggs with potatoes and a scone

Cereal and milk $3

2 scones $2

Orange Juice, Coffee and Milk $2



 Once again The Tippling Toad - Located on Fish Street, will be selling breakfast fair mornings from 8:15 to 9:30ish.  Breakfast includes scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon or sausage, and French toast.  Coffee, milk and juices are also available.


On Sundays only we will add Eggs Mannydick, a fair tradition for over 30 years.  MannyDick is Manny's version of eggs benedict. Two poached eggs over English muffins, topped with a spicy cheese sauce.  Served with rice and Cuban style black beans, it's the perfect way to start a Sunday morning.


Breakfast at Mr. Brown's!
Available to participants from 7:45am to 10:00am. Mr. Brown's remains one of the best values in Fair, offering Mullah's Blend Coffee (roasted fresh each week) available for only $1 before 10am.

Our breakfast traditions continue with:

  • Mullah's Mush (oatmeal with freshly chopped dried fruits): $3.50
  • All natural Chicken Apple Sausage (one piece): $3.00
  • Mush /Sausage combo: $6.00
  • Mullette Sandwich: 1 croissant & 1 sausage (both sliced in half) with 2 small slices of cheese:  $6.00
  • Bakery treats: $2.50-$6.00

We are still offering a selection of wheat-free and gluten-free vegan baked sweets. Many of our items (teas, apples, milk, others) are certified organic.

Participant discount:  Bring your own mug when you visit any time during the day and save 50 cents off your hot beverage (excluding Turkish coffee).


Backstage Food Trucks

(from Carol Goodman)

We will have one food truck a day this year located next to the backstage annex.
Patagonia Empanadas (under new management) on Saturday, and Wisk on Sunday.  Each truck has been asked to provide at least two vegetarian options. Note:  pasta no longer available at the Patagonia truck.  Right now there is no truck scheduled for Thanksgiving Friday.  Hoping to change that.  
Will keep you updated.


Wonderful Merchant offerings for Participants Only!

(from Leslie Patterson)


Braiding Deals@Adorn Thy Hair - located on Petticoat Lane

Participants receive discounts on all hair-dos from 8:00am to 9:59am. 

Please come by early, we will create a limited waiting list. 

If you plan on being here after 9:30am... please be in full costume or mundanes in case the fair opens!  Thank you  - Lynn Combs & Brenda Lewis


Mr. Alan Jeffries Fine Gentlemen's Apparel - located on Nickelby Road

offers participants and Pickwick Club members no sales tax (shoes excepted).  Please state that you are a participant before your order is written up.  Thank you.  -The proprietors


The Proprietors of Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe - located in Hollyberry Park,

want participants to know that they can have FREE TEA with any food purchase. Just let your server know you work at the fair.


Daylight Artworks - located on Maiden Lane 

(Night Lights, Bone Pins) will always pay the sales tax for participants.




Mr. Punch's Pasta Participant Punch Card

Buy 8 Pastas and get one for free.Pick up your pass at the Pasta booth - located in Tinsley Green 
Proprietor - Andrew Patterson


Marley's Chains  located in Golden Square 

will always do the 10% off and round up your discount to nearest dollar if you are fair peeps. :-)


Ballena Bay Pewter - located on Nickelby Road

offers all participants a fantastic savings of 9% on all purchases with fair I.D.


Dangerous Puppets - Located in the London Docks

offers a participant deal that is tax free (%9) off any item.


Pale Moon

The lovely Commemoratives for this Dickens Fair and a tribute to the source. 
Pins Available from Heidi B's Pale Moon Booth through this Fair (& beyond by order). In Mad Sal's Bay across from Steven Overstreet on Fagin's Alley. 





Confounding Confections - located in Tinsley Green

is pleased to offer all fair participants and Pickwick Club members one FREE LOLLY with each purchase of $20 or more!


Painting Garden Activity Card

The Painting Garden -located in Tinsley Green, is offering a "Painting Card" for children and adults valued at $20.00 with an extra bonus piece when card is filled. A great activity for the kids with parents who participate in the Fair. Small children- 6 and under,  do need to be accompanied by an adult or older sibling. Come to the Paint Garden next to the Children's stage and ask for Johanna or Michael for your fun filled "Painting Card"


Fezziwig's Safety & Courtesy Tips


(from Cathleen Myers)


1. Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig have invited you ALL to their Christmas dance party. Everyone is welcome at Fezziwig's, but please give some of your dances to the customers. They're the reason we're here!


2. Fezziwig's is not "Dancing with the Stars" and we have no judges. Above all, we don't have room for dancers who block traffic with their show-stopping moves.  When our dance floor is crowded, as it generally is in the late afternoon and evening, this is not the time to do fancy multiple twirls, swing-outs, roll-aways, or ANY other variations that can cause collisions.


3. No lifts or dips on our Victorian dance floor!  Dips only became fashionable with the invention of Apache dancing in Paris in the early 20th century, and lifts?!!! Only in stage dancing! And, of course, dips and aerials are dangerous in a crowded ballroom.


4. Important safety tip: The line of dance is counterclockwise. The outside lane of the dance floor is the FAST Lane. The outside lane is NOT a good place for slow dancing or fancy variations.


5. The safest place on the dance floor for slower dancers and for teaching inexperienced dancers is in one of the center lanes.


6.  The very center of the floor at Fezziwig's is for our children's dances. Please take special care around them.  And please do not cut through the center as a "short cut."


7. If another couple collides with you on the dance floor, immediately apologize, even if it wasn't your fault. Keep moving but do apologize.


8. There are only three polite reasons for turning down a guest's invitation to dance: (1) that you have already promised this dance to someone else; (2) that you are injured; or (3) that you must leave immediately for an engagement (e.g., your next show). But don't just say "No thank you."  That's cold and unkind. And, if at all possible, engage the customer for a future dance or try to get them another partner. Any Fezziwigger will be happy to help.


9. Ladies: Yes, you may ask any gentleman to dance.  All dances at Fezziwig's are both Ladies' and Gentlemen's Choice. But please do not ask a gentleman to dance if he's with another lady - UNLESS you provide the lady with a partner. This is one of our ironclad courtesy rules!


10. Everyone: If you are about to ask someone to dance and a customer asks you first, you are honour-bound to accept the customer's invitation.


11. In short, please be safe, alert, and polite.


Thank you!

-Cathleen Myers (Lady Jane Digby-El Mezrab), Dance Mistress, Fezziwig's


Christmas Revels Co-Promotion


(from Kevin Patterson)

As part of the Bay Area cultural community, we have a special relationship with The Christmas Revels.  We provide limited free admission to their cast, and they provide limited free admission to their show. Members of our Dickens Cast may use the below code for free tickets (up to 80 tickets so act now).

California Revels invites Dickens Fair Folk to the 29th Annual Christmas Revels at the Oakland Scottish Rite Theater on Lake Merritt.  We would love to have you as our guests on either opening night, Friday, December 12th or the second Friday, December 19th.  Both performances are at 8pm.  Festive attire (Dickensian or otherwise) is always welcome.  
This year's Revels opens in the 1930s where our protagonist meets a mystery man who sends him on a journey east to Appalachia, south through the bayous of Louisiana, north to Shaker country and finally westward ho to California! It's a crazy quilt of many colors creating the fabric of the holiday traditions we still share. Filled with Cajun music, Appalachian clogging, old folk tales and holiday rituals that some will remember being passed down from our parents or grandparents, the 2014 Christmas Revels will see a return to familiar American carols and folksongs, toe-tapping music and of course, plenty of laughter.
To receive up to two free tickets for either Friday night performance of The Christmas Revels order online at and use discount code REDBARN14.  Two ticket limit per order and limited to 100 tickets total. Not valid for Center Box seats or Front Row of the Main Floor (in purple on seating chart.)



Dickens Bulletin Articles


(from Lee Bridges)


Hi, everyone. I'm Lee Bridges. At Dickens I play Lady Leonora Riley, a Spaniard who writes for the Bulletin, our weekly scandalsheet. (I also teach fencing.)


The Bulletin has three purposes: 1) publish amusing stories, 2) embellish your characters, 3) show off Don's printing press. I'm contacting you with two requests:


            - Paul Jennings, Dave Batzloff, Rob Bradshaw, and Steve George, please send me your group's character names so I can write about them. A spreadsheet's fine; I will discard real names and contact info. However, I may want to ask how they're playing their characters this season (e.g., Darwin hasn't published Origin of Species yet).


            -  Everybody, let me know of any gigs you're doing that would make good copy. Surprise proposals, theft, flood, fire, zany animals, kicking Dickens out of Tavistock House... the sky is almost the limit (see below). Yes, your regular stuff is just fine.
This year we're doing a special multi-parter on the imaginary Great London Balloon Race. Wait until you read about the design and crew your group is contributing - or better yet, send it to me. (I've got some great ideas from the Crystal Palace, can-can dancers, and Flockmocker.)


If you have any special events for which you'd like more audience, let me know, and include the date and time. The Bulletin is great for publicity - with spin. Lovely recital? Not news. Lovely recital relocated to your stage after the sweeps ran through half-naked pursued by the constabulary? Now that's news!


Things I DON'T write about:
            - anyone who says not to write about them (has never happened)
            - stuff that's vindictive and not funny
            - tragic historic events, such as mining accidents, unless it's a reference to your character working to             improve conditions
            - anything outright unhistorical, such as claiming your character is an O.B.E. when he wasn't
            - topics that wouldn't fit a Victorian newspaper, such as family planning and homosexuality (apologies, but it's 1855)
            - blatant crossovers like the Starship Enterprise landing outside Whitehall. (Doctor Who does a lot of Victorian, so we've mentioned a weird blue box.)


Anything else is fair game. We stage kidnappings, reveal scandalous family histories, deliver brandy to the Temperance Union, throw people in the Thames, and make things explode. If it reads, it leads!


Does your character object to a story? Storm the printing office! We specialize in hasty retractions. A day without a death threat is a day wasted.


I look forward to publicizing your gigs and making you duck from Flockmocker's ray gun. Yours in gleeful creative license,



The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Media Report


(from Denise Lamott Public Relations)




Feature interview segment with Kevin Patterson on  KRON Weekend News with Jan Wahl



Print/On-line Highlights

8/13          Dickens Fair highlighted in's Best Christmas Family Vacations


9/6            Event highlight with photo,


10/19        Feature story on Kevin Patterson w/ photos and video,


10/20        Calendar listing,


10/29        Highlight, 10 Best Things To Do in November, Mommy Nearest


Nov           Large photo highlight, Bay Area Parent


Nov/Dec    Complimentary ad in


Nov/Dec    Feature article with photos, Victoriana Magazine


Nov/Dec    Calendar listing, Discover Silicon Valley magazine


Nov/Dec    Calendar highlight, Local Happenings Magazine


11/4          Event mention, San Jose Mercury News


11/8          Feature story,


11/9          Feature story on the Dickens Fair in


11/9          Event highlight in Bay Area News Group papers - Fremont Argus, San Ramon Valley Times, San Mateo County Times,  San Jose Mercury News, Hayward Daily Review, West County Times, Oakland Tribune


11/13                Event highlight, San Francisco Examiner


11/18                Photos on


11/19                Dickens Fair featured in Marin Magazine's e-mail blast and online




Dickens Fair highlight in Every Day with Rachel Ray


Feature article on the Great Dickens Christmas Fair on Vogue Bambini/Children's Vogue

Alaska Airlines will highlight in December issue


SF Arts Monthly will cover the event


Sonoma Family Life Magazine would like to include the      Dickens Fair in a round up of area holiday events

San Francisco Chronicle will highlight in Sunday Datebook, 11/23



Ticket Giveaways




        SF Travel's (San Francisco Convention and Visitor Bureau) holiday party


Event Postings

East Bay Express



Press Attending Media Tea Party and/or Dickens Fair

Bay Area News Group - Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, etc.

CBS San Francisco

Digital Journals

KAWL radio

KFOG morning show producer

KGO Radio


Macaroni Kids

Freelance Asian media

Mid-Valley Publications

MarinScope Newspapers

Napa Valley Register

        People's Daily Online

Pink Lemonade of Life (blog)

Randy Yagi,

SF Examiner, SF Arts Monthly, etc.

San Francisco Local magazine (online) 

Science Fiction San Francisco


Yelp North Bay

110 Magazine

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Contact Information
For specific questions regarding performing at the Fair, please email Cat Taylor
If your group would like to perform at the Fair for just one day (school caroling groups, etc.) 
please email Robert Young
For specific questions regarding vending at the Fair please email Vendors
For specific questions the beverage department please email Beverage
For questions regarding costumes, please email Costumes
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair | Red Barn Productions | PO Box 1768 | Novato | CA | 94948

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