The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Missive


Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2020 – Autumn Missive



Notes from your Missive Maven:


It’s autumn, and since this is the Bay Area, we’re expecting quite a warm weekend. Please stay safe and hydrated.

Kevin has put together a very helpful and informative missive, please see below.


Please remember to contact the folks referenced in each notice below, rather than hitting “reply”. Contact information for various departments can be found at the bottom of the missive.

Need to change your email address for or unsubscribe from the missives? Want to read past missives?

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Cat Taylor
Entertainment Director & Missive Maven

In This Missive


Hello, Artists, Artisans, Performers, and Time-Traveling Dreamers of All Kinds –

It’s Autumn!

The Equinox this week ushers in the Fall and with it our body clocks begin to move our thoughts toward our annual gatherings. Alas, this Winter will be… different. The Equinox also reminds us that we are part of larger inexorable cycles. The natural cycles that continue, regardless of fires, or pandemics, or politics. Please let the normalcy of the true nature of things and the natural cycles be a comfort. …as the light ebbs it also flows. Happy Equinox!


New Red Barn Productions Website!

We have been using this pause in our normal production work to reevaluate – and rebuild – our Red Barn Productions website and online presence. It includes some beautiful photography and design (as always!), and restatements of our goals as a company, how we want to create the future, and new ways to support one another. The new site launched today!


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Planning and Anti-Racism Training


In these stormy (and smoky!) times, it’s been a bright light to see so many new resources emerge for learning about anti-racist practices. And its easier than ever for those who are new to this conversation to access this important information.

This new, free, online anti-racist training is available through the Diversity and Resiliency Institute of El Paso. There’s no Red Barn affiliation, we just want to do our part to share free anti-racist resources with our community. Some of our management team is already signed up. The link is here: The training includes about 6 hours of instruction, and (for a fee) CE Units are available. This session is limited to 5,000 people, so register soon if interested! Modules are available only until October 15.

Red Barn has been steadfastly moving forward with comprehensive DEI planning for our organization (update on that soon). As part of our commitment to the safety and well-being of every single BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse participant and guest, we also encourage everyone in our community to move forward in their own pursuit of anti-racist education.

This work includes ongoing input and feedback from all part of our Dickens Fair community.

As mentioned in previous Missives, please contact us via with input, suggestions, concerns or questions regarding this topic.

Local resources recommended by LoAD (Londoners of the African Diaspora) are listed below. Please consider making donations of time or money. Only with community wide (and nationwide) compassion and constancy can we create a future of true equality for all.

Local Social Justice organizations (recommended by LoAD):


COVID Resources for Financial Aid


For everyone in the arts, and all arts related employment and endeavors, the pandemic continues to cause unfathomable loss and cascading impacts. The new Red Barn website will have a community page where we share constantly updated information on where to look for financial assistance and other resources. IF you have any experience with – good or bad – various online resources please email: Let us know what you have learned, or experienced so we can share with our larger community.

Pandemic assistance for the arts:


Keeping Each Other Safe


Please remember that many of us – most of us – are struggling in unseen ways right now. The isolation, the uncertainty, and the fear of getting sick or any number of other things are cause for concern. Not just those who are normally at risk, but all of us are dealing with so much more than usual. PLEASE keep an eye on one another right now. And remember that good counseling is important, and available. Reach out early and often. Be sure you and all those you care about have someone to talk to.

We have created a care statement – see below.


Care Statement – Please Read and Share:


 We are going through hard times.  Every one of us is facing problems of various types.  But the fact is that these problems aren’t insurmountable.  We are a family.  A community of caring and resilient individuals.  A community of intelligent and resourceful creators.  We are thousands – and we thousands have many, many resources.  And you can tap into those resources at any time.

Remember Alvin Straight’s advice:  “You can break one stick.  But if you tie a bunch of sticks into a bundle, you can’t break that.  Well, that bundle… that’s family.”

If you are feeling helpless – if you have financial or emotional problems – you can find among your friends (and even among members of our ‘family’ whom you haven’t met yet) persons who can give you advice, lend a hand, or perhaps even resolve the issue you face.

Remember gratitude.  When things aren’t going our way, it is easy to forget all the gifts we’ve been given.  And that moment, when things aren’t going our way, is the exact moment when it is crucial to remember to be grateful for those gifts:  our health, our friends, our skills, our knowledge.

Don’t isolate.  Stay in contact with friends & family.  Use your phone, your email, social media – check in with friends.  We have been taught that self-reliance is important.  This is true, but it isn’t the whole story.  No one can do everything alone.  And being alone can often be very harmful because it can take you out of your normal emotional patterns.

Be candid with each other.  It is pointless to always tell people that you are ‘fine’ when you aren’t.  Letting someone else know what is going on in your life can actually be a gift to that other person:  it is honoring them with knowledge about you and it is giving them the opportunity to be of service to you.

Ask for help.  Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness – it is a sign of intelligence & practicality.  So ask for help.  Or ask if they need help.  Many times, just asking can save energy, or reduce losses – or save a life.

Address problems early.  If you are having financial issues (and who isn’t these days?), don’t wait til things are critical before asking for help.  That old ‘stitch in time’ cliché is a cliché because it is true.  The best time for roof-fixing is when it isn’t raining.  Seek help before you are barely hanging on.

Help is available, 24  hours a day.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You do not need to be suicidal to talk to them – and it’s called a ‘lifeline’ because they handle all kinds of emotional distress:  800-273-TALK (8255). Also available 24/7 is the The Trevor Project for LGBTQ Youth at 866-488-7386.

Don’t despair.  Despair is a pernicious destroyer of life.  And you can fight despair by staying in the mix, among your friends, interacting with your tribe.  Talk it out – let someone know what’s going on.  You have nothing to lose & everything to gain.

And if you are reading this and thinking, “Nothing here that I need,” then perhaps you should call a few friends – because they might need your help.


2-1-1 Bay Area – for food, shelter, counseling, employment assistance, quality child care, senior services.


Dickens Fair at Home Update


Yes, there will be some fun and lovely bits to share this ‘oliday via the website. The fun will begin just prior to Thanksgiving, with new content posted each weekend thru Christmas eve. We are keeping it simple, (not a ‘virtual fair’ by any means), but chock-a-block with delightful input from a selection of performers, groups, and vendors. The culmination will be a Mr. D himself, doing a reading of “Carol” streaming on Christmas Eve!

Shop online! An important part of the Dickens Fair at Home project will be to encourage our general public as well as all of us and our wider circles, to do their holiday shopping – online – with our Dickens Faire vendor community. The list is growing, and as you likely have seen, we have been promoting a “Vendor of the Week” via Facebook, since the beginning of Summer. Please see the full list here:


Performer Websites/Facebook Pages

Some members of our performer community have created online opportunities to share their craft in new creative ways – and perhaps raise a few shekels by setting out a virtual “hat” (Venmo, PayPal, etc.). Please be encouraged to patronize them, … and perhaps join them! If you plan or already have such a site or page, please share the links with us via so we can help spread the word. Here’s a fun example from our own, our very very own, Shelby Bond:


Just for Fun – Victorian Slang

A couple few months ago (COVID time) an article was recommended by the good people at Sullivan’s print shop (always reliable for obscure knowledge) entitled “56 Delightful Victorian Slang Terms You Should Be Using.” It made the rounds on facebook of course, but is worthy of formal notice (and a reminder) here. Please enjoy – and use with good humor and kindness please!
Quick Links…

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Website
Dickens Fair Performer Page
Cat’s Missive Page
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair Facebook page
Dickens Fair Twitter
Join the Public Email List

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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