Dickens on the Strand
What Is Dickens on the Strand?
While Charles Dickens never quite made it to Galveston, Texas, it hasn't stopped the residents of the town from appreciating his works with annual festivities for almost 50 years. To celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season, tourists and residents alike converge on Galveston Island, donning Dickens-worthy costumes, and shops around the city indulge in Victoria-era food, crafts and gifts.
Exploring this unique Texas treasure is a must for anyone with a love of Dickens' works, Victorian style or Christmas in Texas. If you are going to be in the area, consider renting a cabin or RV Site at Galveston Island KOA Holiday. You will be right by the event of the weekend and have access to plenty of activities and amenities when you want to return to modern times.
This History of Dickens on the Strand
Dickens on the Strand started in 1974 as an homage to the 19th-century London of Charles Dickens' heyday. While many of the features vary by year, annual attendees consistently look forward to the daily parades, contests and unique shopping opportunities as The Strand transforms from a National Historic Landmark District into a street fair teeming with European history.
When you visit this weekend-long event, you are sure to see carolers, musicians, jugglers, mimes and other entertainers weaving through the Victorian street tents selling food, drinks and trinkets. Attendance grows every year, with crowds topping 35,000 over three days, converging on the city full of Dickensian references. Grab a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, and you just may see the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future floating by!
When Is Dickens on the Strand?
Dickens on the Strand takes place during the first weekend of December. It unofficially starts on the Friday of the weekend, aptly named “Fezziwig's Friday,” as the city begins spreading good cheer and preparing for the celebration to begin in earnest. Mr. Fezziwig is a character in Dicken's most popular and festive work, A Christmas Carol. He's characterized as a jolly, generous businessman — a foil to the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Because many of the vendors are not open during this night, admission into the area is free. There is still plenty to see, though, with drinks to enjoy and specialty acts like the Holiday Handbell Concert and The Dickens Soiree. Then, things kick into full swing on Saturday and continue through Sunday. On these days, there is an admission price, with discounts for youth attendees, Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) members and people wearing costumes.
Once you get in, you will be able to spend all day perusing vendors for specialty clothing, jewelry, crafts and holiday decorations while filling up on Victorian-inspired food and drinks. When you need to take a break from shopping, check out one of the entertainment stages to see what is playing, visit Tiny Tim's Play Land with your children or see if you can sign up for events like the Salute to Sunset Party or the Dickens Dash. Of course, you have to catch the parade, too, where you can watch for Queen Victoria to make her regal entrance to the event!
Do You Need a Costume for Dickens on the Strand?
While costumes for Dickens on the Strand are by no means required, they are certainly encouraged. Like similar Rennaissance fairs, for many people, Dickens on the Strand is the excuse they need to dress up in their favorite era-appropriate looks. Most vendors and actors running the festivities are dressed up, and attendees can benefit from acting the part.
Attendees that show up to the event in costume get a discount on their tickets, and there are a number of costume competitions throughout the weekend for individuals and family looks. Try and embrace your creative side, and you might be rewarded in more ways than one. As you pass through the stalls and take in the sounds of camaraderie and old-time Christmas carols, being in costume could be what you need to fully transport yourself to another time.
Experience Christmas in Texas at Galveston Island KOA Holiday
When you are ready to return to the modern era and experience the best parts of nature in Texas, Galveston Island KOA Holiday will be there for you. Take a road trip with your RV and reserve one of our Pull-Thru or Back-In RV Sites. You can also book one of our Deluxe Cabin rentals. This KOA location is open year-round, so you can even book a long-term stay and appreciate Galveston throughout the height of the holiday season.
However you decide to stay, you will have access to electric hookups, full bathrooms and showers, Wi-Fi and cable TV. Plus, you and your family can experience fun amenities like our heated pool, lazy river, private fishing pond and basketball and pickleball courts.
Experiencing Dickens on the Strand and the holiday cheer of Texas is an incredible opportunity. Secure your site at Galveston Island KOA Holiday today so you can start looking forward to your festive vacation!