Dickens on the Strand returns to Galveston on Dec. 2-4

Roberta and Neal Thornton of Liberty with their son Jackson and daughter-in-law, Leigha, at Dickens on the Strand.

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’ work. This year’s event continues that tradition with new entertainers and events, returning favorites and family-friendly programming.

This annual festival begins Friday, Dec. 2, with free admission to Fezziwig’s Beer Hall from 5 to 9 p.m. and continues with ticketed entry Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 4, from noon to 6 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for youth (discounted tickets for GHF members). Attendees in Victorian costumes receive 50 percent off entry. Tickets are available online at https://www.galvestonhistory.org/events/dickens-on-the-strand.

Beverly Davis (right) is pictured with “Queen Victoria” and GHF staff members.

“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,” said 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.”

Beverly Davis, of Liberty, will once again chair the Information Booth on 23rd Street and Mechanic Street on Saturday, Dec. 3, and among her volunteers are Roberta and Neal Thornton, also of Liberty, and Allison and Scott Richert of Galveston, who have ties to Liberty through Scott’s parents, Valerie and Tom Richert.

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.

Returning Dickens’ descendants include great-great-great-granddaughter Lucinda Hawksley, great-great-granddaughter Jane 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. There will also be a Charles Dickens actor.

Among the activities are the Holiday Handbell Concerts at the 1895 St. Joseph’s Church on Friday, Dec. 2, with shows at 5:30, 7 and 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Tickets are $20 per person.

“Charles Dickens” will host the Fezziwig’s Friday evening, Dec. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m. Other events are the Salute to Sunset onboard the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, a Dickensian breakfast at the 1859 Ashton Villa, Tea with the Captain’s Wife and the Saint Arnold’s Grand Walking Tours.

The Dickens snow yard returns and new areas like Tiny Tim’s Play Land and Shopkeepers Skills Village will introduce participants to numerous hands-on experiences. Roaming performers and sets throughout the site will offer new interactions with Charles Dickens’ beloved storytelling.

For more information on Dickens on the Strand, Galveston Historical Foundation or to purchase tickets, visit galvestonhistory.org or call 409-765-7834. For more festival information, please contact Will Wright, chief creative officer, at 409-765-3424 or will.wright@galvestonhistory.org.

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