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Scenes from the Dickens Fair

Professor Flockmocker and his Steam Man are highlights at this immersive holiday event

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

For five weekends in November and December, the South Hall of Cow Palace in Daly City, California has been transformed into a re-creation of Victorian-era London. It’s the 37th Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party, an immersive event featuring seven stages of entertainment plus food, vendors, educational presentations, and more than 800 cast members portraying 19th century characters.

The Steam Man

For steampunk fans, the main attraction is the laboratory of Professor Phineas J. Flockmocker III, a certified genius (in his own estimation) and inventor of contraptions like the Apparition Apprehension Apparatus and Advanced Gravitational Amplification Device. His greatest invention is The Steam Man, an eight-foot tall automaton that walks through the hall each day at 2 p.m.

At the Adventurers Club, attendees can hear from 19th century luminaries such as H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and Oscar Wilde. Meanwhile, characters from A Christmas Carol and other Dickens stories wander the halls. The author himself (or a reasonable facsimile) holds court at Tavistock House.

Edgar Allan Poe reading

The fair runs Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. It’s also open the Friday after Thanksgiving. Tickets cost $32 for adults and teens and $14 for kids (5-12 years).

Costumes are “admired but never required.” The organizers do not allow costumes with full head masks or those that distract from the Victorian theme, such as superheroes or Star Wars characters. Guidelines are on the website.

See highlights from Day One of the fair in the gallery below.

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