God Save the Queen!
Yes, that is Queen Victoria... and Prince Albert beside her.
The annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair has been around for a long time. I remember going as a little kid and loving it. It's a fun, expensive, entertaining, expensive, bizarre, and expensive gift fair. You can buy handcrafted magic wands, real gold puzzle rings with diamonds in them, full-length red velvet capes, silk pantalettes and a real corset, pewter mugs and figures, a top hat or beribboned bonnet, even firearms...that are just for show... and a whole lot of other stuff.
The best of British cuisine is also available: fish and chips, bangers, meat pies (no kidney pie, I don't think...thankfully :P), and a few places where you can enjoy a spot of tea and the accompanying goodies.
Characters from the Dickens novels and personages from the early- to mid-Victorian era wander around and interact with the visitors. It can be super fun...and also pretty weird. One year, a scullery maid/beggar-girl type followed Baby X around for a little while with a tiny stuffed kitten that looked real (maybe it actually was?). She kept saying (in her awesome cockney accent) that it was such a good little kitten...not much trouble at all, never mewed or even ate ... and very well trained. She even showed us some of its 'tricks.' Like that it could 'stay' on command.
It's a total trip to see the Ghost of Jacob Marley dragging his chains around and Scrooge in his nightshirt and cap being led around by the Ghost of Christmas Present. Additionally, the Royal Procession (pictured above) is fun to see... Victoria and Albert are not only surrounded by guards but closely followed by their children (they had a lot of kids). These things make up only part of the entertainment. There are also numerous stages and parlors where one can enjoy music, humor, drama or adventure.
This brings us to why I dragged my whole family to this very pricey gift fair...
Baby X has performed at the Dickens Christmas Fair for the past 4 years. This year, she is officially a member of the Bay Area Youth Harp Ensemble :)
in the front with the purple harp
She also sang with these two older girls...
We've brought Big G with us the last two years. He is a total sucker for Victorian curiosities. His favorite things about the Fair are the meat pies and La Legion Fantastique, "where children of all ages are enthralled with marvelous inventions and exhibits of strange relics from the incredible exploits of the characters from Jules Verne's novels."
Q-Man cried last year when we went without him. I told him you have to be 6 to get to go. It was a lie :( But this year he is 6... He liked it alright but not as much as his big brother. And he liked it for different reasons...
None of these weapons are operational. Really.
And Miss C amused herself as she usually does...
yeah, crappy quality... but she's cute...and nonstop.
And no, she's not 6. Q-Man made a point of bringing that to our attention. You know, the fact that she's not 6 and she got to go. And you know, how totally unfair that is. And what else? Oh yeah, he's really mad at me that he didn't get to go last year.
Never you mind how much fun he had this year.