Ok, so remember waaay back in November when I went to San Francisco to visit my Dad? And then on the flight home I was trying to upload my novel to NaNoWriMo and there was too much fog for my plane to land in Long Beach so they took us all the way to Ontario and I managed to find internet and submit my novel at the very last second? Well before that nightmare happened, Dad and I went to the Dickens Fair. I meant to write about it in November but, well, I was working on my novel. And then I just kept getting distracted. So, in the spirit of TV specials everywhere, I bring you Christmas in July!
The Dickens Fair is held indoors every year at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. We got there rather early this year and wound up waiting for I think an hour for the doors to open. We walked around aimlessly for a while and then got in line when more people started to show up. A little while later some carolers appears to keep us entertained. They sang all the classics, Jingle Bells, The Holly and the Ivy, Deck the Halls. But the best by far was "O Tannenbaum O Tannenbaum and something else in German..."
The fair opened up soon after and we all shuffled inside to see the opening ceremony. I think they do this on the opening day of every year. So far we've always gone on opening day but this time we got to see the ceremony from the beginning. Charles Dickens came out and started talking about the various characters we would see at the fair. You'll run into pretty much every Dickens character imaginable. Of course there's Scrooge and everyone from a Christmas Carol but there also Oliver Twist, The Artful Dodger, Fagin, Nicholas Nickleby, etc. I resisted the urge to tell Mr. Dickens that I kind of prefer Mark Twain.
After the opening ceremony there was ballroom dancing and they let us in to the rest of the fair. If you like Christmas or the Victorian era, the Dickens Fair is the place to be. If you're in or around San Francisco at this time of year I strongly recommend going. Everything's shiny and pretty and it really gets you into the spirit of the holidays. Even if you're a grown up. Plus, there are a lot of great places to buy presents. Although, since the Dickens Fair is run by the same company that does the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, most everything is going to be expensive. It's the only way the merchants are able to make any kind of profit.
One thing I love about the Dickens Fair is that the smell of cinnamon is everywhere. If you don't like cinnamon this may not be so pleasant for you. The cinnamon smell comes from the roasted almond stations spread out all over the fair. They're warm and delicious with a sugary cinnamon coating and I can never resist getting some. They also have roasted chestnuts in case you've ever wanted to try them. Dad bought be some last year and they were not as good as the song had led me to believe. In fact, they tasted a little bit like soap. I gave the rest of mine to Dad and he ate them all up.
This one store had some really beautiful wreaths. I always think about getting one but it seems silly getting one when I live with my parents. Maybe I'll get one for Skeeve and Jerome next year :)
There were also harps!
And people singing!
This is the singing group that Dad and I went to see. I can't for the life of me remember what they were called but they were more or less the Dickens equivalent of the RenFaire's Poxy Boggards and Bells of Bedlam. Almost
As I mentioned before, they had pretty much all of Dickens' characters walking around the fair. But they did something special for Ebenezer Scrooge. They actually reenacted A Christmas Carol in various places throughout the fair. Dad and I watched Jacob Marley appear and tell Scrooge that he would be visited by three spirits, etc. The dude had chains and everything. Neat.
I left Dad with the singing group while I went to look for a present for Kyra. Not only did I find something for Kyra, but Timmy met a new friend. This guy belonged to the merchants that sell hair spirals and they were nice enough to let my hedgehog take a picture with their hedgehog. I think they were kind of surprised that I had one. Well after all, hedgehog fanciers are a very special breed as Timmy well knows. He wont rub noses with just anyone.
I walked around some more and got a couple pictures of the ladies in the corset shop. They take turns posing in the windows, I'm not sure for how long. But they sure do look neat.
Wish I could afford one of these corsets. But they're very well made and thus expensive.
Of course Dad and I had High Tea at 4:00. It's just something you have to do when you go to fair. It's not as good as The Vintage Tea Leaf of course, but the atmosphere is very nice. And about halfway through a bunch of chimney sweeps crash the party by way of the fireplace and sing Christmas carols. One of then asked me when the last time was that I had my chimney swept...which is not really something you want to answer when your father is sitting right next to you. But it was all in good fun. They sang a couple songs and then the kitchen staff chased them out. Timmy thought it was most amusing.
So that was the Dickens Fair. If you're going to be in the area I highly recommend going. It's lots of fun for hedgehogs and humans alike.
As an added bonus, here are some pictures from when Dad and I were walking around San Francisco!
This is dessert from the restaurant Dad took me to for Thanksgiving dinner. Everything was so good! Way better than the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. And you could have all the dessert you wanted! :D
Timmy wasn't about to pass up on that offer.
This is actually the bathroom wall in the same restaurant. I thought it looked neat and happened to have my camera in my purse.
This is a shot of the French cafe that Skeeve and I went into with Tim and Melissa. It's right outside of China Town. She really liked it.
This is the city Christmas tree. Though I can't remember the name of the square that it's in. It was right outside of Macy's and they were getting ready to do the tree lighting ceremony.
And here's the front of Macy's all dressed up.
Happy Christmas :D