For 45 years, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Dickens on The Strand festival has highlighted downtown Galveston’s Victorian-era architecture while providing a one-of-a-kind holiday destination filled with the sights and sounds of Charles Dickens’ work. This year’s event continues that tradition with new entertainers and events, returning favorites, and family-friendly programming. This year’s festival begins today with free admission to Fezziwig’s Beer Hall from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and continues with ticketed admission Saturday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, December 2, from 12 to 6 p.m.
Tickets purchased before November 30 are $13 for adults and $7 for children ages 7-12. Tickets purchased at the gate are $15 for adults and $9 for youth. Discounted tickets for GHF members are available for $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. Tickets are available online at www.dickensonthestrand.org. Attendees in Victorian costumes receive $8 entry.
“This year marks the 45th anniversary of Dickens on The Strand. Our holiday festival highlights the wonderful era of Charles Dickens in a backdrop of some of the nation’s finest Victorian architecture,” states GHF Executive Director, Dwayne Jones. “Everyone who comes to our event shares in the beginning of the holiday season where the spirit of A Christmas Carol fills the streets. Join us for our annual festival of costumes, food, and entertainment.”
The annual holiday street festival, based on 19th-century Victorian London, features parades, non-stop entertainment on multiple stages, strolling carolers, roving musicians, bagpipers, jugglers, and a host of other entertainers. Costumed vendors peddle their wares from street stalls and rolling carts laden with holiday food and drink, Victorian-inspired crafts, clothing, jewelry, holiday decorations, and gift items.
Three descendants of Charles Dickens will grace the festival as GHF welcomes Oliver ‘Ollie’ Dickens, a great-great-great-grandson; Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, a great-great-great-granddaughter; and Jane Dickens Monk, a great-great-granddaughter. All descendants will be at numerous events throughout the weekend.
NEW IN 2018
Oliver ‘Ollie’ Dickens – Great-great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens
British actor Ollie Dickens, who recently graduated from LAMDA, one of the finest drama training academies in the world, and having previously graduated from the University of York with honors in writing, directing, and performance, makes his return to Galveston for this year’s festival. Ollie’s love for his heritage began 20 years ago when he first arrived on the island and had a minor role as Tiny Tim during his father’s dramatic readings of A Christmas Carol. He is the latest in a long tradition of Dickens descendants to participate in the festival and is looking forward to committing the same level of energy, intensity, and flair to his readings as his great-great-great grandfather would have done; if at all possible!
Dickens After Dark
Holders of this limited ticket will gain access to a private event hidden within the Dickens on The Strand grounds. Held on Saturday, December 1 from 8-10 p.m., guests will receive the location a week before the event and enjoy unique performances, drink, and revelry for this new addition to the 45th annual Victorian event, hosted by British actor, and great-great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, Oliver ‘Ollie’ Dickens. Tickets are $50 per person and reservations are required.
A Dickens Soiree at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace
Featuring specialty acts, award-winning performers and carefully curated food and drink options, last year’s soiree was one of the weekend’s highlights, and it’s back again for 2018! Held at the breathtaking 1892 Bishop’s Palace on Friday, November 30, attendees will enjoy live music by Houston’s Two Star Symphony, a special acrobatics presentation by Cirque La Vie, and appearances by special guests including a reading by Ollie Dickens, great-great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens. Tickets are $75 and reservations are required.
Breakfast with Dickens
The great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, Jane Monk, isn’t just coming to this year’s event to take in the sights and share her heritage, she’s also there to cook a traditional English breakfast! Join Jane and our award-winning chef, Mary Bass, at the beautiful 1892 Bishop’s Palace on Saturday, December 1 or Sunday, December 2. Tickets are $75 and reservations are required.
Fezziwig’s Friday Night
Mr. Fezziwig was everything Ebenezer wasn’t, and we pay tribute to his jovial personality at our Fezziwig’s Beer Hall. Join us Friday evening, November 30, from 5 to 9 p.m. for specialty acts, hearty brews, and new friends all hosted by Dickens descendant Jane Monk. There will also be a specialty cocktail chosen from Cedric Dickens’ book Drinking With Dickens. Admission is free for this lively start to the 45th anniversary.
The festival weekend also hosts a multitude of spirited fun with events such as the crowd favorite Whimsical Whisker Revue, a facial hair contest for the bearded and the dandy; the Dickens Victorian Bed Races; Victorian Costume Contest and daily parades through Galveston’s National Historic Landmark Strand District. Special events also include:
Salute To Sunset onboard the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA
The Texas Seaport Museum transforms to a London wharf for this toast to the end of the day and beginning of the evening. The 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA welcomes you aboard Saturday, December 1 at 4:30 p.m. for heavy appetizers, cocktails, cannon fire and special guests leading up to Saturday night’s Pickwick’s Lanternlight Parade. Tickets are $50 per person and reservations are required.
Holiday Handbell Concerts
The 1859 St. Joseph’s Church, the state’s first wooden built church, well known for its exceptional acoustics, hosts three holiday handbell concerts on Friday, November 30 at 5:30, 7 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and reservations are required.
Saint Arnold’s Strand Walking Tours
Learn about the history of The Strand and enjoy some of Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s signature ales during this new tour. Held twice a day during Dickens on The Strand, you’ll visit three festival pubs as you walk through the National Historic Landmark district with your guide. Tickets are $35 per person and include three complimentary beers. Advanced registration encouraged.
For more information on Dickens on The Strand, Galveston Historical Foundation, or to purchase advance tickets, please visit www.galvestonhistory.org.