Sent  11/23/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - November Missive #5
Notes from your Missive Maven:

Thank you all for an amazing opening weekend! We've had lots of changes this year, but you all did splendidly!

The social media platforms have been all abuzz, especially check the Great Dickens Christmas Fair Facebook Page where I've posted or re-posted quite a few photos, videos and links, and Instagram where you might also search for #dickensfair.
We've also had great reviews on Facebook, Yelp and Google. 

I especially like this one from Google:
"I try to go every year. The people involved love this so much and their joy is infectious

And this one from Yelp:
"The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is by far the best "themed" festival that I've been to.
Hidden inside the industrial looking buildings of the Cow Palace is a recreation of 1800s London as Dickens imagined it. The level of detail in the decorations, the stalls, and even the specific vendors was incredible. Obviously many people come dressed in costume, and all the staff playing different character roles are so engaged and authentic, without being the least bit gimmicky."

Keep up the great work!



PS The Postcards Participant Show is scheduled for Saturday of 4th weekend, more info soon!

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

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Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director, Missive & Social Media Maven
In This Missive

Tableaux Timing

(from Mark Solum)

The producers have requested that we strive to get tableaux completed, and the venue open to the larger public, on or by 10am sharp.  To accomplish this, we need to let the tableaux crowd into the venue starting at 9:40am at the latest, and start the tableaux at 9:50am sharp.  

Note from Cat: Mr. Fezziwig assures me that the 9:30 call should still work.
Also a reminder to be quiet from 9:40 until the tableaux finishes in the Fezziwig's Bay and near the V&A.

Dance Party!! - This Saturday 8:00, Fezziwigg's Warehouse - EVERYONE invited

(from Kevin Patterson)

We have hired a great DJ to spin vinyl for us from 8 - 10 PM.   It will be a mix of dance music from many eras and genre's (mid-20th century to present).   

DJ Mark Metz from Conscious Dancer Magazine will be sure to please all tastes!

Plan to have dinner at the Tipling Toad beginning shortly after "Sweep",  raise a toast at the Leather bottle (beginning at 7:45), then take our brand new dance floor for a test drive!! 

...Families welcome!  The first 30-45 minutes will be very kid friendly.   Please encourage your kids to come dance and then make way for the older kids as the younger ones go off to bed.

Help us "kick off" off this new tradition for our Dickens Fair community.   

...there has never been a better time to dance!

With love!

~Kevin Patterson

Showing & Wearing Your Passes

Thank you very much for having your passes out to show our security personnel! If you have it on a lanyard like I do, please remember to conceal it underneath your clothing while in public view. It rather drops the penny.


Updated: No More  Email Addresses

Please note all of the email addresses have gone away.
Please update your address books to use the following email addresses: 

Notes from the Costume Department

(from Liz Martin)

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

Shop schedule
We will be open at 8 am Fri, Sat & Sun.
Approvals and Fastrack begin at 8. We are available for approvals all day.
Fastrack is only open till noon all 3 days.

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


Curtain Courtesy

(from Father Christmas stage manager, Lisa Browning)

Over the course of opening weekend it seems we have forgotten our curtain etiquette.  Flinging the curtains to and from backstage areas aside draws attention and drops the penny for our guests.  Please remember to slip through quietly and single file.

As we ready ourselves for the big 3 day weekend, please remember:

At the V&A curtain:
  • Always keep to the right going backstage or out into the streets of London. 
  • Please be mindful of the times when parades are lining up.  Toy Parade 10:45AM
    Father Christmas 12:45PM
    Queen's Procession 2:45PM (time slightly flexible depending on conditions)
At the Father Christmas Stage:
  • This curtain is not to be used during the day (10AM until 6:30PM) unless you are a performer at this stage.
  • Please stay out of the corridor near the Toy Parade backstage. We have a lot of performers with props who need to get in and out of their backstage areas quickly.
At all curtains whether to outside or into booth areas:
  • Keep to the right going back stage or out into the streets of London.
  • Please go through slowly checking for guests, strollers or our fellow performers doing a bit on the London side.
  • If you have to carry something big or awkward, ask a fellow performer to help you to avoid getting caught on the curtain.

The audience really is watching and listening...

(from Therese Porter)

The audience really is watching and listening. If you are in a place where the audience can hear you, please don't indulge in snark, "office gossip," or rude assessments of other performers. If you must indulge in that sort of thing, take it backstage.

Also if you are visible to the audience but in a place where they cannot hear you, maintain your physical characterisation. You can talk about modern issues (if you must) and still look like you are carrying on a period conversation, thus enhancing the ambience we are trying to create.

You can also - with remarkably little adjustment - discuss needful modern things in such a way that it reads period both visually and audibly. The audience loves "overhearing" our character conversations.
Be a part of the magic, not the splash of cold water that diminishes it.

Netflix & Chill the Cranberry Sauce

(Post Turkey Day Digestion Edition)
(from Therese Porter)

We survived Opening Weekend! (Right?) And now we are staring three days of continuous Dickensian merriment in the face. However, between that deep plunge into London and us is Thanksgiving, so why not use some of that day of rest, food, fellowship, &c to enjoy an adaptation or two of The Book Without Which We Would Not Being Doing This to get ourselves further into the spirit of the thing?

There are so many versions, and everyone has their favourites, but what follows are a few of the popular and readily available versions.

One of the classics is the 1951 version ( with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. Although it is a little heavy on what this writer feels is extraneous backstory at the expense of what Our Author actually wrote, it is full of wonderful touches and solid performances. Scrooge's Redemption is especially good.

The 1984 version features George C. Scott as Scrooge and David Warner as Bob Cratchit along with a really fine cast (IMDB effectively  tells the story and tugs a bit at the heartstrings (Spoiler alert - the sort of cheesy Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come doesn't mar things too much).

The version starring Patrick Stewart (1999 has some really nice touches, good costumes and solid casting. Briskly paced, but still relatively true the book (the dippy Christmas YTC is a bit of a distraction). The Cratchit family are nicely portrayed.

"Scrooge," starring Albert Finney is a musical (1970 and while there are some fine elements of the story illustrated, not all of the production numbers work;  however, "Thank You Very Much" is one of the most strangely enchanting production numbers in the history of cinema. The street scenes are very engaging, and convey something of what we are trying to do (not unlike those in "Oliver!"). Excellent Jacob Marley action.

Interestingly enough, the Muppets' version (1992 IMDB aside from being witty and charming, mostly adheres to the story and ends up being rather satisfying. Bonus! Michael Caine as Scrooge. 

Although parts of the animated version by Disney (2009  with Jim Carey voicing Scrooge seem like a prototype for a Christmas theme ride, many of the elements work really well and the visuals are frequently stunning.

There are certainly plenty of others to choose from - go find your own favourite and God Bless Us, Every One!

Wheelchair Rentals

There have been questions lately about whether we have wheelchair rentals at the Dickens Fair - we do! Wheelchairs are available for rental at the Cloak Check inside the Fair for $10.00 per half day (4 hours) or $20.00 per full day (4+ hours) on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other helpful information can be found at

For Cockney Christmas Service on Sundays

(from Joe Cinelli)
Participants please take a seat in the right or left rows of benches, when attending.
This way we keep the middle row open for patrons to sit up a bit closer and get a better view of the experience 
(Of course Sal and her guests will always have front row priority for theatrical purposes)
Thank you, lovelies! 
<3 -Rev
(Joe Cinelli -

Pipe & Bowl Morris Still Seeking Interested Applicants! 

(from Jason Adajian)
During this continuing Dickens Fair and in preparation for our 2017 season, the Pipe & Bowl Morris Men are still holding try-outs for new dancers.  Perhaps you already have a gig or part-time job at the fair; in case this could work with your schedule, the Pipe & Bowl Morris performs two 30 minute stage shows daily, 12:30 and 2:45 at Mad Sal's, and we invite interested folks to come to our show to see what is involved. 

We are looking for fit and healthy men ages 18 and above, with a lack of joint injuries or back conditions. Knowledge of Morris Dancing is not required, though any kind of folk or social dance experience is a plus, as well as any previous theatrical background. If you are selected we will teach you everything you will need to know to be part of our performance-oriented tradition. A good attitude, sense of humor and eagerness to learn are encouraged!

If you are interested, please email Jason Adajian at, or visit us in person at the Bruno Academy of Music during the fair day. Thank you!

Reminder: A Refresher on Participant Tickets and Will Call

Just some refresher information on this... Participant tickets are only $15 and are good 'any one day' of the Fair. Children's participant tickets (5-12 years of age) are $10. You must present a valid 2016 gate pass.  Normal price is $30 for each day - so this is a great deal!  They are available at the Pass House and credit cards are accepted.   Will call envelopes are also available at the Pass House so you can purchase tickets and place them in the envelope basket which will be delivered to the Will Call booth at front gate each Fair morning at 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, 10:00, and 10:30.

Reminder: Lyrics for God Save the Queen & Rule Brittania!

(from Dave Batzloff)

A reminder of the words to our patriotic songs, along with a few notes:

God Save the Queen:

    God save our gracious Queen, 
    Long live our noble Queen, 
    God save the Queen:

    Send her victorious,
    Happy and glorious, 
    Long to reign over us: 
    God save the Queen.
God Save the Queen, besides being our national anthem, is a prayer. 
It is sung while standing upright, hands at your side, 
Gentlemen with their hats off.

Rule Britannia:
When Britain fi-i-irst, at heaven's command,
Aro-o-o-ose from out the a-a-a-zure main,
Arose, arose from ou-ou-ou-out the a-zure main,
This was the charter, the charter of the land,
And guardian a-a-angels sang this strain:
Rule Britannia!
Britannia rule the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Rule Britannia!
Britannia rule the waves.
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
Rule Britannia is not the national anthem, standing still is not required
it goes quite well with flag waving, etc.
also notice it is RULE Britannia, it is a command from the angels to rule the waves.


Reminder: Facebook Ride Sharing Group 

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!   
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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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