Dickens On The Strand Returns
For 49 years, Galveston Historical Foundation’s (GHF) 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’s work. This year’s event continues that tradition with new entertainers and events, returning favorites, and family-friendly programming. This annual festival begins Friday, December 2, with free admission to Fezziwig’s Beer Hall from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and continues with ticketed entry Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, December 4, from 12 to 6 p.m.
|Carolers at Dickens on The Strand||Photo Credit: Galveston Historical Foundation|
Tickets purchased before November 25 are $18 for adults and $12 for children ages 7-12. Tickets purchased at the gate are $20 for adults and $14 for youth. Discounted tickets for GHF members are available for $15 in advance or $17 at the gate. Attendees in Victorian costumes receive 50% off entry. Tickets are available online at www.dickensonthestrand.org.
“GHF is excited to offer our 49th annual Dickens on The Strand. This year brings new attractions and entertainers as well as some old favorites,” states GHF Executive Director Dwayne Jones. “As we anticipate our silver anniversary in 2023, GHF is hosting more descendants of Charles Dickens and welcoming new aspects of our annual holiday festival. You will want to attend and be a part of our family tradition.”
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.
|One of Several Parades||Photo Credit: Galveston Historical Foundation|
NEW IN 2022 | Dickens on The Strand includes numerous additions inside the festival grounds for youth and adults. The Dickens snow yard returns and new areas like Tiny Tim’s Play Land and Shopkeeper Skills Village will introduce participants to numerous hands-on experiences. Roaming performers and sets throughout the site will offer new interactions with Charles Dickens’s beloved storytelling.
Dickens VIP | Buckingham Palace comes alive to holders of a special Dickens VIP pass. Enjoy private restrooms, unique food and drink options, meet and greets with Dickens descendants, and exclusive entertainment throughout the day inside this new area of the festival footprint. Friday, December 3, and Saturday, December 4, 6-9 p.m., $75 per person.
New Dickens Descendants | It wouldn’t be a Dickens without the descendants! Returning descendants include great-great-great-granddaughter Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, great-great-granddaughter Jane Dickens Monk, and great-great-great-great-grandson Ollie Dickens. This year’s event introduces Polly Olivia Boyd, the great-great-great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, to Galveston for her first Dickens on The Strand.
The Dickens Dash | Speed is the name of the game for the big finish of the 49th annual Dickens on The Strand. The Dickens Dash, a costumed run, welcomes individual and team competitions where the adoring crowd stands ready to cheer on the racers. Costumes are required, with prizes for best costume, group, and more. Sunday, December 4, 4 p.m. $10 per person/$40 per team.
Dickens Decorated | Buckingham Palace comes alive to holders of a special Dickens VIP pass. Enjoy private restrooms, unique food and drink options, meet and greets with Dickens descendants, and exclusive entertainment throughout the day inside this new area of the festival footprint. Friday, December 3, and Saturday, December 4, 6-9 p.m., $75 per person.
Elevenses at ELISSA – Hosted by Polly Olivia Boyd | Join us at the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA for tea and cookies with a touch of history. Enjoy a relaxing morning on the harbor alongside the Official Tall Ship of Texas. Music and a welcome by Dickens descendant Polly Olivia Boyd help set the tone for your day at Dickens on The Strand. Sunday, December 4, at 11 a.m., $50 per person, and reservations are required.
|Handbell Concert at The 1859 St. Joseph’s Church||Photo Credit: Galveston Historical Foundation|
RETURNING FAVORITES | The festival hosts many spirited 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, special kid’s programming, daily parades through Galveston’s National Historic Landmark Strand District, and more. Special events also include:
Holiday Handbell Concerts | The 1859 St. Joseph’s Church, the first wooden-built church in Galveston and well known for its exceptional acoustics, hosts three holiday handbell concerts. Friday, December 2 at 5:30, 7, and 8:30 p.m. $20 per person, and reservations are required.
Fezziwig’s Friday Night – Hosted by Charles Dickens | 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, December 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. for specialty acts, hearty brews, and new friends. Admission is free for this lively start to the weekend.
A Dickens Soiree at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace – Hosted by Ollie Dickens | The Dickens Soiree features specialty acts, award-winning performers, and carefully curated food and drink. Held at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, attendees will enjoy live music, acrobatic presentations by Cirque La Vie, special guests, and the first public appearance by Queen Victoria. This event has become one of the stand-out experiences of the weekend, and it’s back again for 2022! Friday, December 2, 7-9 p.m. $85 per person, and reservations are required.
Salute To Sunset onboard the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA – Hosted by Lucinda Dickens Hawksley | Toast the end of the day and the beginning of the evening onboard the Official Tall Ship of Texas. The 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA welcomes you aboard for heavy appetizers, a specialty cocktail, cannon fire, and special guests leading up to Saturday night’s Pickwick’s Lanternlight Parade. Saturday, December 4, 4:30-6:30 p.m. $60 per person, and reservations are required.
Saint Arnold’s Strand Walking Tours – Hosted by Saint Arnold | Learn about the history of The Strand and enjoy some of Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s signature ales during this new tour. Held daily during Dickens on The Strand, you’ll visit three festival pubs as you walk through the National Historic Landmark district with your guide. Friday, December 2 at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, December 3 at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 4 at 1 p.m. $35 per person.
A Dickensian Breakfast – Hosted by Jane Dickens Monk | Start your Dickens day with a one-of-a-kind experience in one of Galveston’s most beloved historic homes, the 1859 Ashton Villa! Take breakfast with special guests, surprise performances, and more in a gorgeous holiday setting inside the house. Saturday, December 3 at 8:30 a.m. and Sunday, December 4 at 10:30 a.m. $85 per person. Reservations are required and include admission to that day’s festival.
Tea With the Captain’s Wife – Hosted by Polly Olivia Boyd | Join us at the 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA for tea and cookies with a touch of history and excitement. Watch the ELISSA crew maneuver the ship at the dock, setting sails and climbing in the rigging. Ongoing demonstrations, presented by the captain’s wife, give commentary and answer nautical questions. See what life was like for a sailor on the high seas! Saturday, December 3 at 11 a.m., $50 per person, and reservations are required.
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.