Sent 12/15/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - December Missive #3
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Thank you all for all your hard work to make the 2016 Great Dickens Christmas Fair such a wonderful and successful event! Thank you also for your patience when those little challenges pop up as they always do. I would most especially like to thank all the directors and assistant directors for all their efforts and most notably Robert Young and Rickie Bolin; without whom we couldn't do what we all love to do.

There have always been some great articles and sets of photos posted to the Facebook page that you might enjoy:

Here's a wonderful quote from an especially good article that just came out today: 
"In nearly 30 years of Bay living I was unaware of the sheer spectacle that is Victorian London." 

Have a wonderful closing weekend!

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

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
A Christmas Carol


Welcome to the Closing Weekend of the 2016 Annual
Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party!

Speaking for the whole Patterson and Red Barn family, we wish to say how grateful we are for your heartfelt participation in this year's Dickens Christmas Fair.   From the elders in our community who connect the present with the past, to the children and new additions to our ranks, who light our way forward, we are truly fortunate.  
This year, perhaps more than ever, has demonstrated the importance of the loving way we work and play together, and the deep respect we have for each other as a community.   Soon we will pack up our top hats and bonnets, our booths and our parlors, yet we will keep this 2016 Fair Season tucked warmly in our hearts.  May it brighten up the shorter days, and help us throughout the coming year.
The state of the Fair is good.  Our select day ticketing is a work in progress, and will become more and more effective at balancing attendance as time goes on. Customer feedback is that we met our goal of having the fair be less crowded and therefore more enjoyable.  Overall attendance is nearly on par with last year, except for fewer comps.  
The success of the Fair has everything to do with its quality, and the quality has everything to do with you.  Thank you!
We work year-round to maintain the Dickens Fair and Red Barn Productions as a sustainable business.  It is clear to us from both a financial and artistic perspective why nobody has come close to copying it.  Producing this show is wildly ambitious (expensive) and represents decades of evolution and accumulated experience that WE ALL share.   Each of us can be very proud of the part we play in this ongoing creative experiment begun by Ron & Phyllis Patterson and the Pleasure Faire community in 1970.  This art form we call the Dickens Christmas Fair is completely unique in the world.  Thank you for creating it with us.  Let it warm your heart all year!
Yours in merriment,
Kevin & Leslie Patterson

A Simple Solstice - Saturday Night - Dinner Tickets Still Available!

(from Kevin Patterson) 

It will be Solstice soon!  Join us for a family dinner and a bit of song and poetry as we beacon the sun to begin its return.  Saturday at 7:45 at the sign of the Mermaid.  Dinner is limited on a first come basis, so use the link to purchase NOW.  The Mermaid will also be open to everyone at 7:45 with $3 beer, wine, bubbly, cider & free Soda, (even if you are not joining us for dinner).  Pipe & Bowl will step off at precisely 7:55 with the Bromley Horn dance to begin our short program of words & song.  

Click here for dinner tickets or just join us - at precisely 7:45 - to raise a toast to the new year!
password is:  sunreturns4

Kevin Patterson

Notes from the Costume Department

(from Liz Martin) 

Well, it looks like this season is coming to an end. As always, the citizens of London have never looked better: whether clean and sparkly or grimy and dull you all rose to the occasion and blossomed!

Closing Weekend Costume Shop Hours:
Sat & Sun 8 am-ish - 7:30p.

There may be times during closing weekend that the costume shop is closed. We will leave a note with the time we hope to return. 

Please, please bring your items as soon as possible. You don't have to wait till 7:30 on Sunday evening to return things!
Please be prepared to settle up your accounts when you come in. Keep in mind that we take plastic, checks or cash. Terianne, Cat or Val are available to help you.

We love donations! Thank you to those of you who have left items on the door this season. If you have costume pieces that you would like to donate, please bring them by.

Thank you
I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to thank the dedicated and amazing people who populate the Dickens Fair Costume Shop: Alexandria, Scott, Liesl, Susan, Terianne, Cat, Val, Karen, Thom, Jacquie, as well as the fastrack team: Cathryn, John, Dell and Dale. I could not do what I do without you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Unofficial Notice Regarding Tiara Day
For several years now, closing Sunday after 5pm has been unofficially tiara day. It is with unofficial regret that this must come to an end. What started as a simple lark has grown to a fair wide penny drop. We owe it to our closing guests to give them the same level of accuracy that we gave to those on previous weekends.
Thank you for joining with me in ending this unofficial practice.

Last Day Pranks

(from Cat Taylor & Therese Porter )
We made it through a fabulous five week run! We don't have to remind you (but we will) to give our patrons the same high quality show that we've been providing for the previous four weekends. Please, if you "conscientiously feel it is your duty" to do some sort of last day prank, keep it period appropriate and theatrically valid.

If you can't do a prank that
#1 Is in period and doesn't break the illusion of Victorian England
#2 Is in proper costume and consistent with your character and the show
#3 Is not disruptive, cruel or incongruous/anachronistic
#4 Adds to customer enjoyment, does not detract from it

Don't do it. 

If you have any questions or concerns, consult your Director.

Important Notes from Operations/Found Items to Coat Check

(from Mark Solum)

Reminder: Pass House Hours
Closing Saturday: 8am-4pm
Closing Sunday: 8am-4pm
Closing Procedures
 You are responsible for removing all of your personal items from the venue as quickly as possible. Our teams move fast and we cannot work around piles of personal objects left in the venue.
Booths & Environmental Areas
Please pick up and remove all trash left by yourself or others in your areas.
Please sweep your general area to the roadway after clearing out.

Notes on Closing Evening

If you wish to celebrate after hours on closing night, here are two requests:

Please don't leave a mess for our deco crew to clean up when they're putting things away at the stages. We will make sure there are plenty of trash receptacles for both food and beverage items as well as performance and backstage items you don't want to keep.

Please get your musical instruments and other items packed out of the backstages before celebrating closing night with your friends, so things don't get lost with panic ensuing.

Our crews have a lot of work to do and also want to celebrate the season, please be thoughtful.

Please see tear down specifics below.

R.E.S.C.U. Update & Drawing

(from Diane Gehling) 


This week, R.E.S.C.U. received a $250 donation, thus ensuring that we, the participants ,R.E.S.C.U. along with the matching funds from Red Barn Productions reach our goal of $5,000 that I had set at the beginning of the fair - Hurrah!

We are still accepting donations, so if you don't wish to buy tickets but still wish to give, there is a donation box sitting on the table across from the Pass House and that will be there through Sunday afternoon.  

Many wonderful items and Gift Certificates have been generously donated and are on display in the back area by the pass house.  If we haven't picked up a donation from your booth, please note that we, the R.E.S.C.U. team, have been making ourselves scarce as many vendors have been busy when we walk by and we do not wish to interfere with your sales.  Thank you for being willing to donate a service or product and if we are not able to come to you Saturday morning,  we will definitely see you next year!

Remember, you do not have to be present to win.  We will deliver your "present" to you!  

Tickets are on sale from any of the team members.  Team members can be recognized by the RESCU pin they are wearing and can be found at the RESCU table, Elizabeth at the Mermaid Ale Stand, or Charlie at Oudeman Stained Art Glass Booth.  Ticket prices are: $1 = 1 ticket; $5 = 6 tickets; $10 = 12 tickets; $15 =18 tickets, $20 = 25 tickets, $50 = 70 tickets.  For more information, purchasing tickets, donations, etc. contact Kat at   

Dickens Family Crazy Quilt !
Thanks to some wonderful ladies at the fair who are spreading the news of the quilt there has been renewed interest in the Dickens Family Crazy Quilt this Year!!! A crazy quilt by definition is a patchwork quilt made of irregular patches combined with little or no regard to pattern.

We are making a Dickens Family Crazy Quilt.  You can see what a square may look like in the back as we have a couple of squares for show.  The 14" x 14" squares are on sale for $15 each.  If you have any comments, questions, ideas, come and talk with us at the R.E.S.C.U. Table or contact
Thank you everyone for a wonderful 2016 Dickens R.E.S.C.U. Rally!


No "Dancing With The Stars" at Fezziwig's, Please

(from Cathleen Myers)

Everyone is welcome at Fezziwig's and we enjoy your company!  But please remember once again:  Fezziwig's is not "Dancing with the Stars," we have no judges, and we won't vote you off the show if you don't impress us with your brilliant waltz variations.

In fact, we'd be happier if you kept variations to a minimum when the dance floor is crowded.

And, yes, our beautiful new dance floor will be very crowded this weekend. Please drive defensively on the dance floor and avoid showy variations that either block traffic or are likely to cause collisions. Please concentrate instead on protecting your dance partners from collisions. Please don't swing your "free" arm in either the "Congress of Vienna Waltz" or in any other waltz (You could easily hit someone!); please don't polka faster than the music; most of our polkas are "Francaise" - moderate polkas - anyway; and please avoid all twirling variations that might spin your partner into someone else.

Just a reminder: The outside lane of the dance floor is the FAST lane - for those of you dancing up to tempo.  The corners of the dance floor are NOT for stationary variations.  These block traffic.  Remember, too, that the very center of the floor is for our children's dances. Please dance carefully around them.  These children are the Dickens Fair Performers of the Future!

Thank you for your cooperation and Happy Christmas!

Cathleen Myers (Lady Jane), Dance Mistress at Fezziwig's Dance Party


Green Man Palms Seek New Home

(from Neassa Skold)

The Green Man Public House has a pair of palm trees now in need of a good home. If you are interested, email Neassa at or stop by. You can take custody of them as soon as we close on Sunday. Brass buckets not included.

RP's Cockney Christmas Service ~ Nativity Extravaganza!

(from Joe Cinelli)

(by Rev Palmer/Joe)
Greetings, Lovelies! Closing weekend brings us the *Annual Nativity Extravaganza!* At Mad Sal's, 10:15am!
Including special performances by: Mad Sal Herself, le Can-Can Bijou, Gin Alley Sallys, Music Hall, Brass Farthing, Surprise Guests, and Featuring the Dockside Scum!  The Birth of Our Hero will be met with praise and songs, and we will welcome in the Season at Service! All are welcome; None turned away.

Note: If you "live in London" please sit to the Right or Left of the benches, to leave space in the middle for our guests to Dickens.

-Your Reverend Palmer/Joe

First Annual East End Gurning Competition This Sunday!

(from Kaellie Clein-Cunningham)

This Sunday Only! 
5:15 sharp on Mad Sal's Stage! Open to all Comers!
The Scum Cast is proud to bring you the First Annual East End Gurning Competition!

Gurning is the Art of pulling funny, horrendous or grotesque faces! The contest started at a crab-apple fair in rural England in 1269. Almost 750 years later, the crab-apple fair and the Gurning Contest is still an annual event, although nowadays it draws contestants from all over the world!

We will be honoring the time honored tradition of gurners to gurn with their faces framed by a horse collar, known as "gurnin' through a braffin'." We hope you see you there!

Questions can be sent to Kaellie Clein-Cunningham at

Load Out & Closing Procedures - Please Read

(from Andrew Patterson) 
Thank you for another wonderful season! As soon as the final sweep passes your area on Sunday you may begin tear down!

Exit Procedures:
1. You are responsible for removing all of your personal items from the venue as quickly and safely as possible. Our teams move fast and we cannot work around piles of personal objects left in the venue.
2. Please pick up and remove all trash left by yourself or others in your areas.
3. Please sweep your general area to the roadway after clearing out (see below).
4. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE return all BORROWED folding tables, chairs, ladders, brooms, tools, coolers, mirrors, whatever it may be (to Production).
5. Environments & Shows ~ If you stored with us last year, or if you plan to for the first time this year, please email me your needs or find me at the Production desk during Load-out.

Trash and unclaimed stuff:

1.  PLEASE remove all trash from your areas into the trash cans provided all over the venue. If you cannot find an empty trash can or red dumpster, please let the production team know and we will provide one (and liners if needed). Trash, especially glass and other sharp objects present a significant hazard to everyone's safety so THANK YOU for helping us to keep the process of load-out as safe and easy as possible.
2.   Personal items left in the venue after closing Sunday, are very likely to disappear.  PLEASE do not leave personal effects in the venue unless they are NEATLY STACKED and CLEARLY LABELED as yours or your booth/group. We all move very fast once the show is over and cannot be responsible for anything being left in the building past the closing night. Neatness and communication (labeling) make a huge difference!  

Load Out Dates - Note: only weekend hours prior to "out" deadline are closing night and Christmas eve.   
December 18 - Fair closes at 7:00 PM. The venue becomes a construction zone. Drive on will be allowed after 9:00pm. Take all personal belongings home and use caution in venue. All company costumes, props, and tools should be returned to the Production area. Building closes at 11:00pm.
December 19 - 23 - Venue open from 8:00am to 11:00pm for take down - DON'T DELAY! Do it today! Items left behind RBP built areas may be packed or tossed. No lost and found guarantee.
December 24 - Venue limited hours for Christmas Eve 8:00am - 4:00pm.
December 25 - CLOSED
December 26-28 - Venue open from 8:00am to 11:00pm.
December 29 (THURSDAY) - Venue open at 8:00am. Absolute final DEADLINE for removal of all personal and show items is NOON December 29th.
December 31-January 1 - Shipping all stored items to the RBP Mare Island warehouse.

Drew Patterson
Production Manager

Free Adult Irish Sean-Nos and Irish Older Style Step Dance Lessons

(from Shirleigh Brannon
I am re-starting my free adult Irish sean-nos and Irish older style step dance lessons every Sunday effective the second Sunday in January. This would be good for anyone playing Irish at Fair that isn't already part of a formal school of Irish solo dancing, and appropriate for anyone playing an Irish character who would like to learn more about historical styles of Irish dance.

Interested folks can email me at or find me on Facebook for details. 
Reminder: PEERS: Victorian 12th Night Ball ~ January 7th

(from James & Cathleen Myers)

On Saturday, January 7, enjoy another jolly evening of dancing in Dickens' London at the elegant Alameda Elks Lodge at 2255 Santa Clara Avenue in Alameda. 

Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig invite you to A Victorian 12th Night Ball - with special guest Charles Dickens. After a Victorian dance lesson at 7pm, Bangers & Mash plays an evening of popular Victorian ballroom dance music and lively English Country Dances (which will be briefly taught and called). No partners required!  Intermission performances by the Peerless Music Hall and Mr. Dickens himself.

Victorian costume (circa 1837-1870, any class) or modern evening dress is admired, but not required. You may spend the evening dancing in the grand ballroom - or visit Mr. Fezziwig's spacious wine cellar - where some of the less respectable citizens of London invite you to join them and enjoy an excellent no-host bar (That means you pays for yer own drinks, my dears!) or chat and take photos in the beautiful Edwardian parlour - or do all three over the course of the evening! Tickets are $20 in advance(by December 28); $25 at the door.

For information, please call (510) 522-1731, email or see the ball website at

Best regards,

James & Cathleen Myers
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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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