Sent 11/22/17
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2017 - November Missive #5 - Corrected
Notes from your Missive Maven:

Robert's address for the memorial was incorrect in the previous version, it should be

Also, Cottage Pottage at The Tippling Toad should be $2.00


Thank you all for an amazing opening weekend! We've had lots of changes and a few are still being slightly adjusted, but it not only IS a great fair, it FEELS like a great fair! Thank you!

A reminder for the folks in the Annex, please throw away your uneaten food and trash so we don't invite in little four-footed bandits like we had this last week.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, see you on Friday!


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

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Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director & Missive Maven
In This Missive

Netflix and Chill with Cranberry Sauce - Thanksgiving Edition

(from Therese Porter)

Post-Feast is a great time to digest some viewable research. The following is a brief list of adaptations of Our Author's works, a peek into his life, and and glimpse of some of his contemporaries that should get you in the mood to get back into your corset or top hat and face the three day weekend!

"Our Mutual Friend" 1998 ( One of the best adaptations of a Dickens novel - in this case, his last completed one - with rich characterisations, mostly good costumes, and lots of twists and turns as the lower orders bump up against the highest, and the Thames runs through it all like a character unto itself.

2001 ( are both lively condensations of the young Dickens' picaresque masterpiece. Lots of fun to watch.

The engaging and charming 1999 BBC "David Copperfield," (  features a stellar cast - including Bob Hoskins, Dame Maggie Smith, Ian McKellan and a young Daniel Radcliffe  - that beautifully illuminates the remarkable characters of Dickens' "Self Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man." The extended adaptation allows a good deal of the book to be portrayed with care and attention to detail.

"Martin Chuzzlewitt" (  A fascinating examination of  the best and worst of human interaction featuring some of Dickens quirkiest and best loved characters (at least during his lifetime).  Great period touches, lots of lovely detail and above all... those characters!

Curious about the Man himself? Ralph Fienne's directs and stars in "The Invisible Woman" 2013 ( based on Claire Tomalin's searing look at the affair with a young actress that absorbed Dickens in the final thirteen years of his life. A flawed but fascinating film.

For a terrific period piece that isn't Dickens, try George Eliot's "Middlemarch" ( - a massive and meticulous study of life in a small English country town full of splendid characters that range through the classes and express the human condition in all its splendor (as well as the  not so splendiferous). The drama spreads itself out among beautiful settings, and the details of those class distinctions make for fascinating viewing. Eliot's careful and sensitive observations on the inner life and inter-relationships of her characters are engagingly enacted.

For a bracing dose of Brontės, try "To Walk Invisible" 2016 ( an engrossing look at the fierce artistic lives of the three amazing Yorkshire women who blazed their way off of the moors and into literary history. Gorgeous to look at and riveting to watch.

And of course, there are no end of adaptations of "A Christmas Carol," to savour over the remnants of your pumpkin pie (covered in a previous Missive, but also available nearly constantly this time of year). 


Let's Put On A Show!

Fair is fun (and if it isn't fun you may wish to reconsider what you're doing with your weekends), and while it's great to be playing with our friends, first and foremost we are putting on a show. Please treat everyone with the professional courtesy due a fellow performer, and if you can be kind in the bargain, even better. If problems arise, don't be afraid to enlist your director or manager in helping to craft a resolution, and if certain areas of the show are proving problematic for you, try to avoid them.  Please also remember to respect the personal space of your fellow participants and ask before touching. Obtaining consent is respectful, courteous, and important.

Above all, let's give our guests the most wonderful, endearing, amazing show we possibly can. If it's not period, and most importantly, if it is not audience appropriate, don't do it. 

Thank you!

Kids Free Admission ~ This Sunday!

There will be lots of kids this Sunday!

Children (5-12 years old) will receive FREE admission on "Kids Free Sunday" 
(November 26 only. Children under 5 are always free!)

The folks in the kids area will be very busy and could potentially use your help, especially during the Father Christmas hour. So please check in with them and have fun making magic for our younger visitors!

Please check in with parents and make sure you guide them when the kids get cranky.  Let them know there is a baby changing area next to the V & A and in the ladies rooms in both bays.  Remember to give children their personal space too, get down on their level, but not in their faces. Ask parents permission before engaging their children...and never touch them without parents permission. 

Thank you!

More on Making the Season Magical for Children


Updated Participant Services

Time travel is tiring and thirsty business...  Here is a quick list of services, participant-only food services, and little niceties provided to support you between your adventures in Dickensian London:
~Water (always fresh in the Annex) DRINK MORE WATER (...and less alkeeehawl)
~A hot 'cuppa tea, (free) in the Annex (courtesy of Coventry Carolers).  
~Lemonade, etc. at the Greenman throughout the day
~Excellent hot breakfasts prior to 9:30 AM - various booths  (more info will be in Friday's missive)  EAT HEARTY dear friends.
~A HEARTY soup (Cottage Pottage) is always available at the Tipling Toad (Pickwick Square) for only $2 (gate pass required). Always vegetarian (until it runs out), often a meat option available.
~Catering trucks daily outside Annex: The 'Wisk' truck will be returning, and a new Organic Taco truck is being added to the rotation. 
~Nap/Yoga/meditation "reset room" behind Costumes (always inquire via Costume team on duty) MAY BE BUSY.  MAX :20 each PLEASE.  Bring own pillow if possible. 
~Participant tickets are good any day (no need to determine when your guests are coming) and are the lowest price available at $18 for adults and $10 for children 5-11. 
~Will Call is available VIA the Passhouse.   Envelopes provided, please write legibly.  Deliveries to Will Call made several times each Fair morning from the Passhouse.
~Smoking:  Tobacco at Bull Pen (Breezeway or upper Cow Palace Parking Lot ONLY) 
Please do not smoke anything in the fair buildings, annex or near the kid's trailer! Not only is it against fire regulations, many of our participants are allergic and it can make them sick and/or have trouble breathing. This is very not good, so please don't do it.
If you have ideas or concerns regarding participant services needed or not working properly PLEASE email Rickie Bolin via:

Chemical Sensitivities:

Chemical Sensitivities are real and can cause serious and uncomfortable reactions in our fellow cast members.   

Here are a few things we can ALL do to support a healthful environment for each other:

~ refrain from using perfume and scented personal grooming products (deodorant, body spray, shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, etc)

~ never smoke cannabis anywhere but the "420" lounge in the cattle pen area just beyond the Annex.  Many people are allergic and even after traveling long distances smoke can still harm or cause anxiety to a very allergic person.

~ wash your hands more often, especially if you are a smoker.

~ if you are sensitive to cigarette smoke, use the privy bank outside the Sals door by Pale Moon.  ...or any bathroom other than at the end of the Breezeway.   This privy bank is next to the ONLY smoking area for participants that works.   Smokers are always going to be there so if you are sensitive to smoke, use a different bathroom.

~ we are looking at industrial alternatives to existing soaps in bathroom dispensers, but this is not likely to happen this year.

Thank you for your cooperation and for caring for each other by not wearing scented body products.

~Kevin Patterson

Nap Room

The Participant nap room is very helpful to those who need some quite time and physical rest from time to time.  In our effort to make this service work smoothly for all concerned, please note the following:

~you must enter through costumes, so please wait at the door, get the attention of a costumes staff member and ask if the nap room is available.   If there is space, they will give you a fresh pillow case, and walk you in to the space.

~we need pillow cases!  As pillows are where we put our faces, it is important that the pillow cases are always sanitary.  We are therefore looking for donations of pillow cases, ...about 30 pillow cases in total.   If you can bring in a couple old (clean) pillow cases, please do!   

~These pillow cases will be laundered by the wonderful crew at costumes each week, so the Nap Room always has a supply of fresh, sanitary pillow cases!   Thank you Costumes crew!

Evening Activities - Next 4 Weekends


2nd Weekend Saturday 11/25 8:00 - 9:00 ~ open Memorial of Thanksgiving ~ Golden Square
Honoring:  Brian Mathis, Stark Ravens,  ~ Chris Bishop, Beverage ~ Mitchell Walker, Mask Maker
If you would like to speak, please email
Mr. Brown's Coffee house will be open.  
3rd Weekend Saturday 12/2 ~ Two Events!
8:00 - 10:00 PM ~ 2nd Annual Kraken Ball* dance party
On the fantastic (still new) Fezziwig's dance floor, (*mirror ball that is) Leather Bottle open!
8:00 - 9:00 PM ~ Join Peter Overstreet for his second annual Storytelling nite, at Mad Sals
Mr. Brown's Coffee house will be open.  

Dinner?  Yes!  2nd annual buffet Dinner provided at Tippling Toad!!  Menu and Price TBD
4th Weekend Saturday 12/9 8:00 PM ~ Saucy French Postcards presents the Participants' Private Showing
with special Guest Cameos!  (Participant show)
No bar open
Final weekend ~  Saturday 11/16 8:00 PM Solstice Observance and Feast ~ Save the date!  
Eventbrite registration begins next week.  Email will also go directly to past registrants and again in next weeks Missive.
Closing night ~ Sals bar open as per usual for final toasts!

No Smoking in the Fair Buildings, Annex or Near the Kid's Trailer 

Please do not smoke anything in the fair buildings, annex or near the kid's trailer! Not only is it against fire regulations, many of our participants are allergic and it can make them sick and/or have trouble breathing. This is very not good, so please don't do it.

Curtain Courtesy

Please remember to be careful going through the curtain into, and out of our backstages. And please, don't use a cane or similar object to move the curtain aside, you could seriously damage someone coming through the other direction. Thanks.

Ghostie Postie

(from Therese Porter)

Thank You for Seeing Ghosts!

It was marvelous to see and hear the participant reactions to the Ghosts this weekend all over the Fair- let's keep it up! Besides providing the crucial supernatural touch that pervades Our Author's little novella, it helps our guests process what they are seeing. And it is affording some wonderful interactive and theatrical opportunities as well. 

The Ghosts love to float through the Fair, so if you think of a spectral appearance that would be fun, period appropriate and enhance our guests' experience that you would like to try, please run it by the Ghost Wrangler General (Therese). Because of scheduling, we may not be able to do it, but we can try. 

ASL Interpreted Shows

Our wonderful Kate Livingston is interpreting for us again! 
The shows that will be ASL interpreted this year are:

Saturdays - 
Christmas Past (Pennygaff Stage)
Christmas Present (Pennygaff Stage)
Wonderland Story Time (Father Christmas Stage)
Christmas Yet-to-Come (Pennygaff Stage)
Scrooge Redeemed (Pennygaff Stage)
East End 'oliday Hexstravaganza! (Mad Sal's Stage)

Sundays - 
Christmas Past (Pennygaff Stage)
Christmas Present (Pennygaff Stage)
Jack is Back (Father Christmas Stage)
Christmas Yet-to-Come (Pennygaff Stage)
Scrooge Redeemed (Pennygaff Stage) 
East End 'oliday Hexstravaganza! (Mad Sal's Stage)

Thanks Kate!

(from Liz Martin)

Thank you to everyone for contributing to making this the best looking fair ever!

To both performers and vendors at the fair: please remember that poinsettias are not period and should not be used as adornments for bonnets, costumes or booths!
Thank you!

This weekend the Costume shop will open at 8am for approvals and for FasTrak.
Costume shop 8 to 7:30 Daily
FasTrak 8 to 3 Friday, Saturday & Sunday
The Costume Department is now LOCATED IN THE ANNEX
Please make sure you have your paperwork with them. You will be entering a backstage area.
Participants needing Approvals/confirmation of fastrack will enter thru the black gates across from the pass house. Then go thru the roll up door and follow the taped arrows to costumes. 
Need a fix? Check out our rates!
Machine Hemmed pants $5 per leg
Hand hemmed $20 per hour
Crotch seam resewn $5
Crotch seam rebuild $20 per hour
Zippers $12/ 24 hour turn around

Dress hem repair $5 up to 12"
Full hem/machine/per layer $25
Hand hemmed $20 per hour

Buttons $1 with button
Without button $2
Buttonholes $3 each
Hand sewing/specialty repairs $20 per hour

Costumes will close at 7:30 nightly.
That gives you 30 min to return any items that have been rented and to collect your ID. We will be asking for a credit card deposit of at least $50 per item rented this year, or that you leave your drivers license as collateral. Small children will not be accepted in lieu of payment or deposit.

Thank you!


Notes from Operations

(from Mark Solum)

Pass House Hours
All Days:  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.
PLEASE turn in all found items ASAP.

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. 
Deliver to Will Call is provided!  Ask at the Pass house.
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.

Trial By Jury Stage Crew Needed for Dec 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 16th

(from Barry Koron)

Over at the V&A, we need a sub for our one-man Trial by Jury stage crew on the weekend of Dec 2 & 3, Saturday Dec 9, and Saturday Dec 16. Placing and removing furniture and props; 35-minute shows at roughly 11 and 4.



Postcards Backstage Crew Needed

(from Diana Young)

Over 18, and fancy a bit of adventure at the end of the day, hey? Postcards has a smaller than usual backstage crew this year and could really use some help with setting up the large platform and with rolling up the scrim at the end of the evening. Setup happens shortly after Trial By Jury ends (around 5pm) and the take-down is shortly after the second show is over (around 7pm). Takes 5-7 minutes to do each of those tasks. Interested parties should inquire during the day at the Postcards dressing room behind the V&A. Ask for the Stage Master, he who is known informally as Zee!

The Tippling Toad is Hiring

(from Patrick Morris)

The Tippling Toad is looking for workers.  We need counter help from 12-4, two or four hour shifts.  Also looking for a dishwasher.  Contract Patrick Morris 510 917-0065.

Reminder: Food for Participants

Breakfast at Bangers 7:30 am - 9:30 am
Breakfast Burrito: with rice & beans
Mexican- ($6) chorizo, eggs, & potatoes
American- ($6) ham, cheese, eggs & potatoes
Vegetarian- ($5) eggs, cheese & potatoes
Meat Lovers- ($7) ham, chorizo, cheese, eggs & potatoes
Mexican-chorizo & eggs with rice & beans
American-ham & eggs with potatoes & a scone
Vegetarian-eggs and potatoes & a scone or rice & beans
Corset meal ($5) Greek yogurt with GF granola & berry sauce
Tamales: with rice and beans ($6)
Chicken-1 for ($4)
Green chili & cheese 2 for ($4)
Scones 2 for $2
Cereal $3
Coffee, Tea, Milk, OJ ($2)
The Tippling Toad Breakfast
Eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, coffee and French toast served every day. Real maple syrup! Eggs Manny Dick on Sundays.
Breakfast at Mr. Brown's Coffee House
Breakfast at Mr. Brown's 8:00am to 10:00am 
Regular menu available, plus: 
Mullah Mush: $3.50 
Chicken Apple Sausage (one piece): $3.00 
Mush/Sausage Combo: $6.00 
Mullette Sandwich (1 croissant & 1 sausage with 2 small slices of brie cheese): $6.50 
12 oz. cup of freshly roasted, gourmet coffee: $2.00 (until 10am ONLY) 
Daybreak Crepes and Coffee, next to the Mermaid, will be open at 7:30 each morning.
Serving fresh made to order breakfast crepes, espresso drinks, and house coffee for our Dickens family.   Bacon, Egg, and Cheese or Nutella, Bananas, and Whipped Cream will be among the choices available.
Participant Mid-Day Food:

Cottage Pottage at The Tippling Toad
$2.00 (please show your gate pass), always vegetarian (until it runs out), often a meat option available.
Food Trucks by The Annex
The 'Wisk' truck will be returning, and a new Organic Taco truck is being added to the rotation. The Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend may be truck free (schedule still being negotiated).

Reminder: Facebook Ride Sharing Group 

Just a reminder that there is a Dickens Fair ride sharing group at

If you need a ride to the fair or workshops, you can post there. Even better, if you can offer a ride, please post there! Thanks!   

Reminder: The Missive Page

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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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