Sent  11/17/16
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2016 - November Missive #4
~Opening Weekend!~
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Welcome to the opening weekend of the 2016 
Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party!
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! 
  • Every merchant and environmental area for all that you do to create beauty and depth and detail to woo and delight our visitors. 
  • Our wonderful costume department for keeping us all looking our best!
  • Our gracious tavern keepers who keep all our customers delightfully quaffed! 
  • And bravo to each of the 750 and 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!  
 SO ON WITH THE SHOW!   We can all take pride in the Fair we have created together!
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!



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

Raising our Spirits

(from Kevin Patterson)

At the Dress Rehearsal meeting, I encouraged everyone to remember to take care of themselves during each performance day.   To drink more water (always fresh in the Annex) and less (or no) Alcohol, or sugary foods, eat a good breakfast and avail yourself of our nap/yoga/meditation reset room in the big brown trailer by the annex.  ...And in proper English fashion, enjoy a hot 'cuppa, (free) in the Annex (courtesy of Coventry Carolers).  A hearty soup is always available at the Tipling Toad (now in Pickwick Square) for only $2 (gate pass required).  
As we embark on our holiday journey together, we encourage you to raise your spirits and share the holiday cheer in a myriad of healthy and creative ways.  ...Laughter, sharing, caring, a hearty meal, a warm greeting, or a kiss under the mistletoe-just to name a few.   Our amazing community of over a thousand and our attentive audience may appreciate your genuine and hearty commitment to the deeper meaning of enjoying this holiday gathering.   And good news-the cheery light may last well into the new year....brightening up the shorter days and the work that lies ahead, with a spark of remembrance of the good times we all shared at Dickens. 

We encourage you to raise your spirits - practice health - and spread good cheer!  
Happy Opening!


New Dance Floor Dance Party ~ Thanksgiving Saturday 8 - 10pm

(from Kevin Patterson)

Ready to kick off your heels and let off some steam?   We are looking for a DJ with kit (proposals accepted) and the Leather Bottle will be open for champers, beer and good cheer!

2nd Saturday beginning at 8 PM.  No host bar.  At least one food booth, The Tippling Toad, will be open for dinner too!

More info soon!


Our Author Eloquently Sums up Christmastide

...& more relevant than ever
(from Therese Porter)

`There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. `Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!'

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 Operations

(from Mark Solum)

Pass House Hours
Opening Saturday: 7am-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.
PLEASE turn in all found items.
Bring Your Meds!
If you take regular medications, please remember to bring them. Thanks!
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.
Please 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.

Notes from Costumes

(from Liz Martin)

Hours: 8 am - 7:30 pm 
Approvals: 8am - noon daily during the run.
Fastrack photos: 8 am - 2 pm 
Nov 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 & Dec 3.

There are a limited number of skirts, petticoats, aprons, shoes, suspenders and mop caps for sale outside of costumes. Feel free to come and shop.

Note on Safety Pins
While I recognize that many of us feel strongly about the current political climate, I  respectively ask that you refrain from wearing modern safety pins visibly on your costume. You may wear them under a lapel or collar, as long as they are not in full view. 
Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

On behalf of the entire Costume shop: Welcome to London!

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.

A Note About Ghosties 
(and other creatures that go bump at the Fair) 

(from Therese Porter)

The Victorians loved ghost stories and divination at Christmastime almost as much as they enjoyed them at Halloween. And as in Dickens' writings, supernatural elements float through our Fair. 

Every year we remind you that unless you are a child, Scottish or Irish, somewhat spiritously infused yourself, or Mrs Finching, you do not see the ghosts and fairies that wander through our London. That does not mean that you are entirely unaware of their existence, which gives your character some fun possibilities. Also, you have a lovely opportunity to facilitate our guests' experience. If you see the Ghosts of Past, Present, Yet to Come or Marley, you can draw our guests' attention to the spectral visitors without "seeing" them yourself. This is also a chance to gently adjust our audience's perception of what they are seeing (the parts in parentheses).

A brief primer for suggested reactions:

Christmas (all in white, NOT Miss Havisham) - a sense of nostalgia or wistful remembrance of previous Christmases
Christmas Present (green robe, NOT Father Christmas) - feeling of warmth, generosity, Yuletide cheer
Christmas Yet to Come (NOT Death, NOT a Nazgul) - slight foreboding, a desire to make amends or change one's life for the better
Marley (all in grey bearing chains) - regret, desire to make amends

If children - or anyone, actually - claim to see the Ghosts, play along with them. Help add to the sense of the participation in "A Christmas Carol" come to life. 

Notes From the Green Man Inn

(from Kathleen Bartholomew)
Participants: Please be advised that the Green Man is not open for use outside performance hours. Before Opening, after Closing, on weekdays - it is off limits, and will be roped off a a reminder. The props and furniture are not available. Please rehearse, congregate and/or lunch elsewhere elsewhere. Thank you."

English Country Dance!

(from Morgan McDow)
Come join the English Country Dance Party, hosted by the Crown and Anchor Dancers. We have three shows a day, and everyone is welcome ! All levels of dancers , many dances will be taught. This is a lovely chance to interact with our Esteemed Patrons, so come one and all. Noon, 2:00 and 3:30 at the Silk Road Stage. 

Thank you, 
Morgan McDow
Crown and Anchor Dancers

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 a Green Room.  Please stay in character and in the 19th century, not the 21st!  If Bill Sykes and Nancy can stay in character while they dance, so can you!
3. 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 are only suitable in stage dancing! And, of course, both 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 and children is in one of the center lanes. Ballroom dancing can be a dangerous sport! 
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 Fezziwig cast member 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. In short, please be safe, alert, polite, and Victorian.
Thank you!
-Cathleen Myers 
(Lady Jane Digby-El Mezrab), Dance Mistress, Fezziwig's

Umbrellas for the Annex

(from Bob Crabb)

There are two buckets of umbrellas for use for people traveling to or from the pass gate and the annex. If you use one please return it to one of the buckets. We are expecting some rain on opening weekend and since the last day of Fair last year was rainy also, some of the umbrellas left Fair with some of you.  We could use a few more, if you have an extra umbrella {especially one that looks period} would you please consider donating it to the cause.  Please don't give me one you expect back, I don't have the time or the patience to watch over your umbrellas.

Breakfast at Bangers

(from Sarah Honor Westlake))

Our hours are 7:30-9:30am
Breakfast Burrito: with rice & beans
Mexican-($5)chorizo,eggs, & potatoes 
American-($5)ham, cheese, eggs & potatoes
Vegetarian-($5)eggs, cheese & potatoes
Meat Lovers-($6)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 ($5)
Chicken-1 for ($4)
Green chili & cheese 2 for ($4)

Scones 2 for $2
Cereal $3
Coffee, Tea, Milk, Oj ($2)

Breakfast at The Tippling Toad

(from Patrick Morris)

We are now located in Pickwick Square in the old Roast Beef spot. We will be serving breakfast every morning of fair. Eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, coffee and French toast served every day. Real maple syrup!  Eggs Manny Dick on Sundays. 

Breakfast at Daybreak Crepes and Coffee


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.

Breakfast at Mr. Brown's

(from Kristi and Jeremy McMaster)

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) 
Earn Cash & Make Kids Smile!
(from Julie St. Germaine)

The Carousel has a few more spots between the hours of 12:00 and 4:00 on Saturday and Sunday.  You can take on an hour or two a day or grab all four.  We want good-humored folks who are safety conscious, friendly, and like kids.  We're looking for working poor or above, no one dirty so that the beautifully refurbished cloth animals are kept clean.  

Please e-mail Julie St. Germaine at to request info or sign up.  
The Commemorative Dickens Fair Pin Has Arrived!
(from Heidi B)

Take Heart, Dear Christmas Keepers!

The Commemorative Dickens Fair Pin has arrived with the Heart & Love we all share with this unsettled world. Find yours at Heidi B's Pale Moon Booth, between Mad Sal's & the Dark Garden Windows, near to Steven Overstreet's in our newly arranged bay!! Look for our usual Clock Tower -- while supplies last!!
Love, Heidi B

No Tin-Types This Weekend  (due to expected rain)

Alas, the forecast of inclement weather this weekend precludes outdoor tintype creation. 

Reminder: Collar Service at Mr. Alan Jeffries 

(from Jeffrey Schoenberg)

Mr. Alan Jeffries is again offering Collar service. If you would like to have your detachable collars professionally starched, drop them off at Mr. Alan Jeffries by the end of the day on Sunday, and they will be ready for you to pick up first thing the following Saturday. $5 each. Prepaid, cash only. Starting dress rehearsal weekend.



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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