Dickens on the Strand is Family Fun with an Educational Tie-In

Looking for something fun do to with your family this weekend? The annual “Dickens on the Strand” holiday festival will take place December 5-7, 2014, in Galveston.

Given the time of year, one might suppose that Dickens on the Strand centered on a production of the author’s holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol.” But in fact, no such performance is featured – although attendees do have the option of purchasing a discounted double ticket to the Houston Grand Opera’s world premiere of Iain Bell and Simon Callow’s operatic take on the story.

Instead of focusing exclusively on “A Christmas Carol,” the event combines that story’s holiday cheer with a hefty dose of history and the arts, making for a truly unique festival that has garnered worldwide attention. One major focus is on the Dickensian context of Victorian England; a parade will feature “Queen Victoria” herself, and vendors and entertainers in period garb help to make history come alive. The legacy of Dickens himself is also strongly felt; two of his descendants will be in attendance, and readings of his work will be featured in a limited-seating dinner event.

Dickens on the Strand has always offered educational potential, but this year, it is expanding its children’s offerings in a partnership with the Children’s Museum of Galveston. “Oliver’s Alley” will feature toys and games of the time period and a workshop by descendant Lucinda Dickens Hawksley. Other children’s programming will include pony rides and a petting zoo. Older children and teens may also enjoy seeing agemates from all over the Houston area perform in musical programs.

But of course, the festival is parent-friendly as well – St. Arnold’s Brewery is a prominent sponsor of the event and will host “Fezziwig’s Beer Hall,” free and open to the public, on Friday. There will be live music and other entertainment throughout the weekend. Parents may also enjoy an architectural walking tour of the historic Strand district, pickup games of cricket, a moustache and beard contest (really), and Civil War and Texas history features.

Feature image courtesy of the Galveston Historical Foundation.

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