At first glance, the coast of southeast Texas doesn’t exactly scream corsets, petticoats, cravates and wool overcoats. But, fortunately, the lead up to Christmas, that most quintessentially Dickensian moment of the year, does. Dickens on the Strand, a three-day festival originally meant to help preserve Galveston’s historic downtown, takes over the winter holiday season with parades, vendors, a facial hair contest and craft gifts, all done to the nines in Victorian flair. Picture a renaissance fair, but replace the mud and lutes with Scotch eggs, claw-topped walking canes and people riding those comically-large bicycles.
Dickens on the Strand will have the customary circus acts and musical performers on the festival’s seven stages, along with the new areas of “Tiny Tim’s Play Land” and the “Shopkeeper Skills Village” for the first time this year. The Queen’s Parade takes place on Saturday and Sunday, where costumed performers, bands and choirs walk through downtown Galveston. This festival tries its hardest to bring to life the Victorian England so evocatively sketched in Dickens’s novels, going so far as to create a “snow yard” — a nod to A Christmas Carol — in hot-as-Hades Texas. Yeah, these organizers are committed.
While the streets may not be twinkling beneath a fresh foot of powder, that doesn’t mean you can’t find your holiday cheer. Dust off your faithfully recreated beaver-fur top hat, or supplement from your local party city for Jacob Marley’s chains, there’s no pedantic enforcement of historical dress here. Visitors sport everything for revolutionary war attire to steampunk goggles. After all, a perfectly faithful recreation of Dickens’s epoch would be far from fun for the whole family. Best of all: dress in costume to get a discount on your ticket.
- Attendance averages around 35,000 across the three days.
- Friday has free admission. Saturday and Sunday have paid admission. Adults tickets start at $20. Dress in costume to get a discount on your ticket.
- Check out Fifty Grande’s guide to Texas here.
What is the closest airport to the festival?
45 minutes north of Galveston, Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport is the closest international airport. The Pearland Regional Airport is slightly closer to Galveston.
Is the festival ADA accessible?
As the festival takes place in the streets of Galveston, it is accessible. However, there are no set accommodations beyond set-aside parking, and there is a ban on all “recreational wheels.”
What is the bag policy?
No bag policy is stated.