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Dickens on The Strand returns the weekend of Dec 2-4, 2022.
The world-famous Dickens on The Strand festival returns to Galveston this weekend, transforming the island’s historic Strand into the Victorian London of Charles Dickens.
The popular street festival, put on by Galveston Historical Foundation, kicks off on Friday, December 3 and will continue through Sunday, December 5 with a full lineup of special events, parades and live entertainment, plus special appearances from a descendant of Charles Dickens.
Visitors to Dickens on The Strand can experience an enchanted journey back in time to 19th century London as characters from Dickens novels walk the streets and 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 gifts. Strolling carolers and roving musicians will fill the area with enchanting sounds from another era.
"He never visited Galveston. He never wrote about it, either. Yet for 49 years, the community and guests to Galveston Island have come together in early December to celebrate the works of Charles Dickens. Dickens on The Strand, the largest fundraiser for Galveston Historical Foundation, now welcomes over 40,000 locals, visitors, entertainers, guests, and more to the Strand National Historic Landmark District to celebrate the works of the beloved author over the first weekend in December.
However, what Dickens on The Strand is might depend on who you ask. For GHF, it's a vital piece of foundation programming that brings an audience together to enjoy and be surrounded by Galveston's architectural history. Built during the same time that Dickens was writing, many buildings that line The Strand today give an unmatched backdrop to a Victorian holiday weekend. Being downtown, in costume, and surrounded by historic buildings, guests can enjoy the environment and actively participate in that scene. It's one of the reasons that admission is ½ off for costumed attendees. There's just no better way to experience the weekend than in costume.
On a literal level, The Strand in Galveston shares a name with the Strand in London. Both are short but historically significant thoroughfares throughout a city that border a body of water. First conceived in the 1970s as "A Dickens Evening on The Strand," the early days of the event brought awareness to the downtown area and its need for a strong preservation effort to save, and revitalize, the district. The Strand as we know it today wasn't the same as it was in those days and has grown over the decades to a hub for tourism, commercial growth, and historic appreciation. Those early efforts paved the way for today's festival and proved a vital piece in ensuring Galveston's history for generations to come.
Dickens also gives Galveston Historical Foundation numerous ways to program our historic sites and attractions that offer unique experiences to our guests. Places like the 1892 Bishop's Palace, 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA, 1859 St. Joseph's Church, and 1859 Ashton Villa, all offer various concerts, parties, and events designed to highlight these structures while supporting the larger event.
Today's Dickens on The Strand still shares many of the hallmarks that made it such a beloved event in its early days. Parades, craft and food vendors, entertainers, and street performers all remain essential aspects of the overall. It's not uncommon to walk through the streets and hear people speak of coming with their parents who now bring their children or those that come annually to seek a favorite craft vendor or food item. For many businesses that operate throughout the year on The Strand and Mechanic, Dickens on The Strand can be their biggest sales day of the year, bringing yet another vital piece to the mix that is Dickens.
No matter what your relationship is with the event, be it a first-time guest or a long-term attendee, we hope that each of you finds a piece of the weekend that connects with you and offers you a look into a Christmas past while appreciating the Christmas present. Then, make plans for 2023 as Dickens on The Strand celebrates its 50th Anniversary December 1-3!" - Galveston Historical Foundation
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