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The Great Dickens Christmas Fair at San Francisco Cow Palace


Check our California Calendar for upcoming dates of this annual event!

Costumed characters bring to life the Christmas holiday with a unique, popular annual celebration of the Christmas Carol novel by Charles Dickens. Set in the poorer neighborhoods of England, the story evolves around characters named Ebenezer Scrooge, downtrodden clerk Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.


The ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet to come are part of this beloved holiday story created by Charles Dickens in 1843. Set in the Victorian era, it is a tale of morality and passion. A selfish man who held no passion of his employees and their plight, was visited by spirits who treated him to life reviews. So disturbing were the visions that Scrooge changes his life and reverts to the kind-hearted human he used to be. And a little boy who was ill and near death, recovers and thrives, and everyone is happy in the most celebrated Christmas ever.


Now take that story line and put it in San Francisco, complete with live music, theatrics, costumes and always a bit of naughtiness (children are still OK at this event). That's what you'll find annually at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. People who attend actually plot out their next year's costumes in anticipation of its return. While modern day Christmas celebrations run the gamut, this event offers one of the most participatory, fun times for families and adults to stroll, dine, dance and partake of a holiday season that's part fantasy, part tradition and brings much anticipation.