The Great Dickens Christmas Fair


The 36th annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party is underway and only has two weekends left! Ever year it runs right around Thanksgiving until Christmas on the weekends at the Cow Palace. The venue is transformed into the streets of Old London, filled with pubs, theatres, dance and music halls, vendors and great food. It was my second year back to photograph. This year I was on the hunt for interesting characters and unique crafts. Brownie points to anyone that can spot me in one of the images. :) 

Send a telegraph or rose to another visitor and they will call out their name to deliver the message.

Head to one of the 5 pubs and order a Hot Toddy or Irish Coffee among other delicious drinks.

Head over the print shop and see how prints were made back then. 

Be sure to check the schedule and visit one of the 7 theaters for a very entertaining play. Listen to the traveling carolers on the street and maybe you'll spot Father Christmas. 

Stop by the adventurers club and hear about war strategy. 

The fair would not be complete of course without some absinthe tasting at the Bohemian Pub. 

Absinthe tasting // The Great Christmas Dickens Fair // Ashley Petersen Photo

Check out Artisan Flamework by artist Andre Nigoghossian. Beautiful handmade glass pieces. 

Stop by the puppet booth and watch a show. My husband bought two figurines for us, made out of wood I believe.

An old camera! No way! His setup looks really heavy. Also spotted is Mr. Charles Dickens.

Before you leave, definitely pick up some warm roasted chestnuts. You'll also find Ghost of Christmas Present wandering the streets.

If you would like to see photos from 2013, please visit my other blog posts, part 1 and part 2. 

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair: Part 2


The Great Dickens Christmas Fair took part on 5 weekends between November 23rd and December 22nd at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. It was a magical Christmas affair filled with spiritful and friendly entertainers, good food, and lots of vendors to see. I went back a second weekend and took pictures of all of these amazing entertainers. Mark your calendars for next year, running on weekends from November 22nd to December 21st. Be sure to not miss out on this delightful gathering!

Plenty of yummy hot toddies, irish coffees, and hot buttered rums to go around.

Hand drawn portraits by the artist in residence, Louis Nuyens. Need a new corset? Dark Garden Unique Corsetry has many options. These models posed as mannequins to show off the beautiful corsetry.

Try fencing at the Corinthian Rose Sporting Club. Around tea time, we headed over to Cuthbert’s Tea Shop for some sandwiches and tea. Make a reservation weekends in advance to secure a spot.

Have tea with the Red Queen and the white rabbit.

Musician // The Great Christmas Dickens Fair // Ashley Petersen Photo

Listen to some great music by The Conventry Carolers.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair: Part 1


It's that time of the year again. A time to wander the Dickensian streets of old London and immerse yourself in a Victorian wonderland. The amount of fun here is endless. Discover handmade crafts from vendors all over, watch a play at one of the many theaters, listen to carolers on one of the many stages, eat, drink and be merry. There are over 700 costumed players to entertain you at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. It's fantastic. And they NEVER break character. Quite entertaining.

As we slowly made our way through the Dickens Christmas Fair, I found a few vendors that I absolutely fell in love with their work.

Broom Magic, based out of Eugene, OR has been making brooms for over 30 years. The handmade quality is impeccable, not only is my new broom extremely functional as an everyday broom, I can't wait to use it as a prop in a photo shoot. Check out the variety of brooms on their website.

I also came across an antique key jewelry maker, called Storyteller Keys, based out of Atascadero, CA. She has various necklaces with keys, that she has been collecting for over 20 years. I found a treasure at this booth. My husband bought me a pocket watch necklace, but the really interesting part is that it is an old Russian watch and all the mechanical parts are exposed. Check out JoAnne's website at Storyteller Keys.

Next we headed over to Dancing Flame Candle, a magical place you can dip your own candles and customize the color. I made a really cute Christmas tree that can be used as a candle or as an ornament.

Don't miss....The absinthe tasting at The Bohemian Pub. The cinnamon crunch almonds from a trolley cart. English tea with cakes and sandwiches at Cuthbert's Tea Shop. Send a telegram to anyone at the Fair at the Central London Telegraph Co.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is running on the weekends from November 23rd to December 22nd at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA. Be sure to visit this magical place. For more information check out the Great Dickens Website.

I'll be heading back to the fair mid December to photograph more portraits. Stay tuned to a future blog post dedicated to the characters I meet there.