Sent 11/30/17
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2017 - November Missive #6
Notes from your Missive Maven:
I must share something that I'm told a certain amazing imagineer said on his annual visit this past weekend: 
"Walt would have loved this."

Chills? Me too.

"...but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him."
~A Christmas Carol


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Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director & Missive Maven
In This Missive

Cool Solutions to Heat Issues

(from Kevin Patterson)

We are working with the limitations of an old building, but we have good news!

The broken exhaust fans in the ceiling of Hall E (V & A bay) have been successfully repaired.  Additionally, our wonderful production team has installed 6 new fans in the ceilings over the past few days to create more air flow.  The key is to get the heated air OUT of the ceiling so that fresh air can flow in from the sides.   This is why we annually install over 20 large wall fans to help bring more air IN.  The repaired exhaust fans are essential to this system and have been off line the last two weekends.

Air Conditioning?  Why yes!  We are experimenting with bringing in a high capacity AC system in Bay B (Golden Square/Adventurers Club).  This cooling system takes heated air out via a flexible duct tube and runs it through a large AC unit sitting outside Golden Square, then runs the cooled air back inside the building via more long duct tubing.  This is a huge experiment for us.  We have already installed exhaust fans in the upper wall areas to get some of the heat out and will be adding two more next week.  With the AC system in this central location, we are hopeful that cooler air will prevail!

We are essentially retrofitting the building.  The Cow Palace has given us permission to do these repairs and improvements ourselves, and with the hard work of our amazing production and operations teams, we are making progress.

Thanks very much for your patience and understanding in this process.


God Save the Parades!

(from Therese Porter)

Part of the excitement and bustle of the Fair is the parades, and when they go by - Toy Parade, Father Christmas and Boar's Head, and most especially when Her Majesty's progress winds through the Fair - be sure to give them focus by cheering and helping our guests to more fully understand what they are seeing. These are joyous celebrations - help make them more so for everyone!

Speaking of The Queen, a visit from Her Majesty, the Prince Consort, the Royal Family and their attendants is a Big Deal. Help make the occasion as special as it should be by showing the appropriate enthusiasm and deference. Our focus and energy helps create the reality. our audience sees, and supports the performers working in these roles. Deference - bowing or curtseying to the Royals - helps focus on what is going on and conveys the importance of what is unfolding before our guests. A hearty "God Save Her Majesty" as she goes by certainly doesn't go amiss either.

Safety, Customer Assistance and Be Careful at the Curtains!

The Dickens Fair is a unique and frequently overwhelming environment, and our guests can be dazzled and distracted by what is going on. If a customer looks lost or overwhelmed, an offer of assistance can work wonders to keep things moving smoothly. If a guest is blocking a lane or an aisle, gently getting them out the way of performers and processions helps keep everyone safer.

As performers we should be careful in our interactive bits and our street gigs to not block thoroughfares or booth entrances. Be aware of your surrounding and how your body in space moves and intersects with others. Make sure your work is not going to pull focus from other performances in progress.

And please remember to be careful going through the curtains into, and out of our backstages. 
When moving through a curtain, from a backstage area to the set, or visa-versa, please move slowly.  Don't rush through, rather taking the time to confirm its safe to do so. 
Please do not use a cane, walking stick, rifle, or any other device to pre-open the curtain.  Most curtains have directional arrows on them- please follow them.

One more thing... the passage from the greenroom to the V&A backstage should only be used if you're actually going to the V&A and not just as another entrance to the public areas. People need to move very quickly through there to make their cues, often with large props.

Smokers, Please Be Considerate

We have had to remind people who smoke to please smoke only in designated areas far too much in the last two weekends. 

The participant smoking area is behind the fair, under the bull pen, behind the participant privies (so people don't have to walk through smoke to get to the privies).  In addition, we have a 420 area for participants only, in the space behind the annex.

The open smoking behind the building while walking around or smoking in areas not designated is affecting us all.  This includes the group smoking under the audience ramp.  Please notify all your cast-members and booth worker smokers of the rules.

(from Kevin Patterson)

Bring your gatepass and photo ID.  See below for dates and deets.

Revels is a theatrical Celebration of the Winter Solstice.  The 32nd annual Christmas Revels returns to Scotland and its surrounding islands. From the exquisite Scottish court dancing of the 18th century to the dramatic ballads and wild reels of the 19th century, this year's Revels will once again welcome the new year with verve, joy, plenty of pipes and Scottish fiddlers. 

We have arranged for a block of 80 seats to be held in Dress Circle 1 and 3  for Dickens performers on both Dec 8 and Dec 15, 8:00 PM.  Revels ushers will be instructed to direct Dickens Fair performers and their guests to those seats.

Revels is presented in Oakland, CA.
Visit for directions.

(from Liz Martin)

I would like to thank everyone who did their best to maintain the London winter look this past weekend! 
I know it was miserably hot and all of you went above and beyond in making the show look amazing!

Looking forward to cooler Christmas Eves in the future.

FasTrak Hours
FasTrack will be open from 8-noon Sat only in the annex. 
If you still need to have your picture taken please send an email to to make an appointment.

For those of you who had a pass that was issued as a provisional, now is the time to make sure you have corrected the issue. 

Nap Room Notes & Pillow Cases
I would like to thank people for their donations this past weekend! 
However, the nap room was hopping this past weekend and we ran out!
If you have even an extra 1or 2 pillow cases that you could part with, please bring them by costumes this coming weekend ~ thanks!


Performer Notes Should Go Through Their Directors

Just a quick reminder that notes to other individual cast-members should come through their directors. Tell your director, who will confer with theirs'. This helps avoid both conflicting information and potential hurt feelings. Thanks!

Notes & Reminders 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.

The Main fair building is open during the week on Monday, Thursday and Friday from 9a-5p. 

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.

Please do not put diapers, garbage or baby wipes into the portable toilets, they stop up the pumping hoses. Thanks.

Operation Santa Claus Toy Drive

Operation Santa Claus Toy Drive for the Daly City Fire Department is going well. We have collected over 130 toys so far. Our Goal is 1000! That is only 1 toy per participant of the Fair.  We are collecting them at the Pass House.  Please bring your new unwrapped toy this weekend if possible.  Thanks in advance for this.

Oceana Update

(from Steve Johnson)

This Wednesday I presented a check for $1,184 to Mr. Barbour, the principal of Oceana, at the faculty meeting. The teachers were very appreciative, and complimentary of our efforts to keep everything in good shape while we were at the school.

Ten of them are coming to the fair in the coming weekends, compliments of Kevin. On the teachers behalf I wish to again thank you for your generosity in supporting their efforts to give their students a quality education. The students at every level need mentors later this year when they do their yearly project, so if you want to help with that let me know. 

Also, the Spanish teacher found a white binder with a Dickens flyer on the front cover; it has workshop notes and sketches inside. I will leave it at Lost & Found at the fair. 

Cheers.   - Steve Johnson

Evening Activities - Next 3 Weekends


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!

Our Silhouette Artist

This weekend Jordan Monsell, our Silhouette Artist will be joining us inside our Merchandise Shop. Please refer folks to that location.

Mr. Alan Jeffries Collar Service

(from Jeffrey Schoenberg)

Do your starched collars look a little less than perky? Mr. Alan Jeffries is offering collar service starting this coming weekend. Drop off your collars on Sunday and pick them up the following Saturday all clean and starched up. $5.00 each paid in advance. Cash only. Thank you.

Tintypes Outside the Annex (Participants Only)

(from Bruce Morton)

Sonoma Tintype will be shooting original "Tintypes" at the Performers Annex each Saturday from 10:00 am until 3:00, weather permitting. Participants Only.

R.E.S.C.U. Notes

(from Diane "Kat" Gehling)
R.E.S.C.U is a national non-profit organization run by faire folk to help all of us who work at Renaissance Faires, The Dickens Fair and historical re-enactments in times of need.

Drawing for the 2017 Dicken's Faire R.E.S.C.U. raffle will be held on the 5th Saturday @ 4:30 p.m. by the Pass House.  Thank you to all who are donating items as well as those who are buying tickets.  

Last year the participants of the Great Dickens Fair raised over $3,000.  With the match made by Kevin Patterson and Red Barn Productions; we raised over $6,000 for the 2016 season!  Currently, we have raised $1,000 between donations and ticket sales.  Items donated so far have a value of over $3,500; with more on the way! 

        Tickets are for sale at the R.E.S.C.U. table for the following prices
            $1 for 1 ticket
            $5 for 6 tickets
            $10 for 12 tickets    
            $20 for 25 tickets

Applications and Brochures about R.E.S.C.U. can also be picked up at the table.   Again, thank you for all of your help and support.  Anyone wishing to donate items or buy tickets but cannot get out of their booth, please contact Kat at and we will come to you.


Socks & Sleeping Bags for the Homeless

(from Jonathan Howell)

The company I work for operates Street Outreach Services. SOS provides urgent medical care for homeless people in San Francisco from a mobile van. Socks are among the most needed items by homeless people, yet they are among the least donated. Without socks, the nation's homeless population is constantly at risk of serious foot disease and, during winter months, in severe danger posed by the cold.

This winter, we at SOS would like to have a steady supply of socks and emergency sleeping bags on our van. With temperatures creeping close to freezing at night, we would like to do everything we can to help our neighbors without homes stay warm.

If you can, I would appreciate your generous donation of *new* or *very lightly used* socks or sleeping bags. Bring them to me at the Prince Edward Pub. Thank'ye.

Jonathan Howell

Reminder: 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!

Reminder: 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:

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. 

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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