Sent 11/17/17
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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2017 - November Missive #4
Notes from your Missive Maven:
Welcome to the opening weekend of the 2017 
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 800 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!
Opening Morning Reminders:
  • 8:30 The fluorescent lights go out for testing of the show lights! This will give us both a chance to solve problems with lighting well before opening.  Thanks! 
  • 9:30 we are a "show time" venue, and you should be dressed and prepared for the guests.
  • 9:45 The Audience is in Fezziwig's and Tableau begins. (try to see it for yourself at least once!) Please be quiet around this area until the curtain open to our guests.

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!


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

Our Author Eloquently Sums up Christmastide

(from Therese Porter)

...& more relevant than ever

`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!'

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 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.

About Tickets - A Refresher 

Participant Tickets and Will Call: 
Just some refresher information on this... Participant tickets are only $18 and are good 'any one day' of the Fair. 

You must present a valid 2017 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.

Promotions & Publicity

There is a lot going in with promotion and publicity these days and we will fill you in with more detail next week.

We are expecting a wonderful turnout for the two Media Teas this weekend with 40 guests on Saturday and nearly 30 on Sunday.

We will also have KTVU news onsite for live broadcasts on Sunday morning.

More later...

Music Hall Singers (V&A) Need Costumed Onstage Presenter

(from Ellen Hoffman)

Music Hall Singers at the V&A needs a sub to stand on stage (in costume) & point to Audience Singalong lyrics on a posterboard, while looking appropriately enthusiastic. Two 15-minute shows each day: 11:15 and 4:00, immediately before Trial by Jury. FUN gig! 

If this sub can handle BOTH Music Hall Singers AND being a stage hand for TBJury shows, so much the better! (See Barry's post for details) Dec. 2, 3, 9, and 16. PERK: You will be in CLOSE proximity to FAMOUS MUSIC HALL STARS!



Trial By Jury Stage Crew for Dec 2nd/3rd

(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.



(from Bob Crabb)
Dear fellow occupiers of the annex {Green Room} a few notes:
Hot Water and Cider
There will be hot cider and hot water for TEA as there was last year. Please feel free to use it, but please don't abuse the privilege.   There should never be children in the tea room unaccompanied, PLEASE! This is not being supplied by the Fair, so if you use the service please contribute if you can.
Below are some concerns and notes that were a concern last year:
Some of you were not being very careful with yourselves or your children and leaving a mess in the "Tea Room" and assuming that I am your mother and will naturally clean up after you.  I am NOT your mother and I really don't want to spend what little free time  I have playing nurse maid to you! Please, please, please, if you drop or spill something please clean it up. There are garbage cans in the annex, the bucket that is in the tea room is mainly there to catch drips NOT as a garbage can.
If you have children under the age of 13 please accompany them to get hot water or cider.  Both are often hot enough to cause serious damage and they will all disappear if you allow your children to do this.  As a parent and a teacher, I will not leave the equipment there.
The hot water is NOT there for you to wash in, please don't!
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 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.



Merchant Notices and Discounts 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).

Special Discounts on Items:

Pale Moon Commemorative Pin
The Commemorative Dickens Fair Pin Has arrived with the love of Adventure we all share. Find yours at Heidi B's Pale Moon Booth in Mad Sal's bay near the Dark Garden Windows, Look for our usual Clock Tower -- while supplies last!!
Fyne Foot Attire by Olde Soles @ Nativearth
Offering all Dickens Participants a Participant Payment Plan.
Get your shoes first weekend with 30% down. Fill out a payment contract
And pay the balance through the remaining 4 weekends.
Go thee in Comfort!
Portsmouth Square Coin & Watch Company
Also selling other items like stamps, post cards and paper money. 10% off marked price for Merchants and their employees.
Serendipity Leather (blue booth adjacent to Chocolate)
is offering fair participants the opportunity to purchase select Oberon Design pewter items at a discount.  This sale will occur early mornings only and will end immediately at the start of the day of fair.  All purchases must be made in cash. 

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. even Bill Sykes, as long as he behaves himself! We're always happy to have you come and dance with us but we do ask our friends from other Fair groups to devote some of their dances to the customers. The customers are 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, Nancy, and Bet can stay so brilliantly 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.
4. No lifts or dips are permitted 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, dips, drops, and aerials are dangerous in a crowded ballroom.
5. 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. And please don't do left turns when waltzing.  It's not period for our early Victorian warehouse "ballroom," takes up a LOT of space, and can cause collisions unless you have extraordinary "driving" skills and have a very experienced partner; remember: The rest of us are doing right turns!
6. 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! 
7.  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."
8. If another couple collides with you on the dance floor, immediately apologize, even if it wasn't your fault. Keep moving but do apologize.
9. 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 and are sitting the dance out; 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.
10. Ladies: Yes, you may ask any gentleman to dance.  All dances at Fezziwig's are both Ladies' and Gentlemen's Choice. But if the person you want to dance with is with a partner, please don't ask them to dance without providing a partner for the other person.  This is one of our ironclad rules!
11. In short, please be safe, alert, polite, and Victorian.
Thank you and have a marvelous first weekend in London!
-Cathleen Myers (Lady Jane Digby-El Mezrab), Dance Mistress, Fezziwig's 

(from Jason Adajian)
A Winter Buck & Mug is a rare occurrence; this is a call for submissions! This issue will celebrate Winter Festivals, Ancient and New, with an emphasis on one of our favorites... Please send us your Dickens Fair stories, or character episodes of Winter ritual and drama! Also encouraged is your artwork, songs, poetry, photos, and announcements of Births, Deaths, Marriages or even Life Changes Inspired by Wintry Visitations.
Ad space available at the usual reasonable rates!
Send all submissions and any inquiries to: Don't delay! Deadline is November 26th (2nd weekend of the Fair)
Jason Adajian, Editor - Winter 2017


(from Kat Gehling)
Last year we had a record breaking year. With Kevin matching what we, as the participants, raised through ticket sales and donations, we raised over $5,000! Can we raise over $6000 this year?!

This weekend, I will be walking around talking with vendors and introducing my assistants, Yolanda and Peter. Tickets will be for sale but only from us not at the table.
Tickets are $1 for 1 ticket
$5 for 6 tickets
$10 for 12 tickets
$20 for 25 tickets
I look forward to seeing you all again!!

Reminder: 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)
~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)
~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)
~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.
If you have ideas or concerns regarding participant services needed or not working properly PLEASE email Rickie Bolin via:

(from Liz Martin)

We have arrived! Opening day is just around the corner!
Please , save yourself some stress and pack what you need for the weekend NOW!
I look forward to seeing all of you on the streets of London!

November 18th and 19th Opening Weekend Hours -  7:00am to 5:00pm
November 24th, 25th and 26th Thanksgiving weekend - 8:00am to 5:00pm
December 2nd - 9:00am to 5:00pm
December 3rd through close of fair - By appointment
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. 
Please be patient - we are all aware that it is opening day and that the show cannot open without you. We are also aware that there are quite a few participants/vendors who arrive for the first time on Saturday morning. 
We will continue taking FastTrack photos opening weekend thru the Sat 3rd weekend. Hours will be limited after 2nd weekend. 
Our first priority is to get approvals done so that all participants can get their pass and get their day started. We will do our best to take your photo when you check in.  If we don't, please come back during the hours listed above to have your picture taken. It is your responsibility to make sure that we have your current costume photo on file. 
We have a limited number of items available for rental. If you need to rent something, PLEASE EMAIL Liz By Thursday afternoon.
Please include the items that you are looking for, character and class, your height, weight, chest and waist measurements. This will help us to pull things quicker.  
There will be a small amount of skirts, aprons, shoes, shirts and other items available for sale at this weekend and next.
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.

Help the Christmas Keepers, help the Fair and help our guests enjoy their time with us!  Taking tickets, greeting guests, acting as tour guides, participating in parades, assisting guests with questions and generally helping to spread good cheer (not to mention  valuable information). are all part of a Christmas Keeper's day. Even if you are not a part of the group, you can still assist in the above-mentioned activities.  

This is a marvelous way to immerse yourself further into the Fair, share the magic of the Holiday Season with our guests , and help the Fair itself! Ticket-taking shifts also involve some recompense.

Interested? Contact Juanita Watkins at

Juanita Watkins,
Director, Christmas Keepers

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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