Christmas

Dickens on the Strand Returns

45th Annual Dickens On The Strand Returns November 30th-December 2nd Galveston Island’s Strand National Historic Landmark District

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 Friday, November 30th with free admission to Fezziwig’s Beer Hall from 5-9pm and continues with ticketed admission Saturday, December 1st 10am-9pm and Sunday, December 2nd 12 noon-6pm.

Tickets purchased before November 30th 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 dickensonthestrand.org, by calling, (409)765-7834 or at all area Randall’s stores beginning November 5th. 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 1st, 8-10pm, 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.

Returning Favorites

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 30th, 6:30pm, 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 1st (8am) or Sunday, December 2nd (10am). 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 Friday evening, November 30th, 5-9pm, 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.

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Festival Highlights

Along with browsing the many booths and vendors, 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 1st at 4:30pm 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 30th at 5:30pm, 7pm, and 8:30pm. 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 on November 30th (7pm), December 1st (11am and 4:30pm) and December 2nd (3pm), you’ll visit three festival pubs as you walk through the National Historic Landmark district with your guide and enjoy some of Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s signature ales during this tour. Tickets are $35 per person and include three complimentary beers. Advanced registration encouraged.

Victorian Bed Races

Sunday, December 2nd at 4:30pm, fortune and glory await one lucky team at the 2018 Dickens on The Strand! The annual Victorian bed race is always a crowd favorite and pits 5-person teams against each other for a footrace down Galveston’s historic streets. Complete rules and regulations are available at galvestonhistory.org. Awards will be given to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams as well as a special crowd favorite award for the best-decorated bed.

More Info

For more information on Dickens on The Strand, Galveston Historical Foundation, or to purchase advance tickets, please visit galvestonhistory.org or call (409)765-7834. For more festival information, please contact Will Wright, Chief Creative Officer at (409)765-3404 or will.wright@galvestonhistory.org.

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