The Magical World Of Dickens On The Strand

Recreating The Victorian London Of Charles Dickens

I always wanted to experience what’s it like to celebrate the holidays of the past where carolers stroll the streets with their enchanting voices and people dressed in elegant clothing greets you with a genuinely festive mood symbolizing the joys of Christmas.

Last weekend, luck came my way as my family and I decided to witness the magical holiday festival called Dickens On The Strand at Galveston‘s The Strand National Historic Landmark District. For a moment, we stepped back into history as the colorful and lively pageantry of the 19th century cityscape with its British Empire influence came to life complete with the Queen and her court.

Parade At The Old Galveston Square

After parking our car, we excitedly joined the crowd dressed in the Victorian costumes. As we lined up for the tickets, an older couple asked my wife, ” do you have tickets yet? ” My wife a bit confused as to why they asked replied, ” No, we haven’t.” The lady smiled and like magic, two tickets appeared on her hand and handed it to my wife. Looking surprised, we both said, ” thank you, ” to the generous couple. Each ticket cost $12.00.

We were just in time to experience a parade like no other. I looked for a best spot to sit so my family can a have a great view of the participants. We sat close to the vendors selling Victorian inspired jewelries. While waiting, we kept ourselves busy munching on a delicious piece of grilled chicken.

The beautiful music of the bagpipers filled the air. The haunting melody flowed directly into my heart. I felt a bit of sadness. It made me remember my parents and siblings whom I haven’t had a Christmas with for the past 8 years.

I told myself to set aside the depressing thoughts and just feel the festive vibe as ” Lady Christmas Tree ” waved at us. Her sweet smile was infectious!

She was then followed by several carolers singing joyous songs of Christmas. Their voices sounded so pure bringing hope and good tidings.

Then came the merry sailors and pirates…

As more villagers joined in, it got weirder. Nevertheless it was fun, creative and entertaining.

This mysterious lady threw a pearl necklace at me. Why me? Got no clue. My son and I would alternately wear it for the rest of the event.

Then came the Steampunk troops, they represent the Victorian era’s vision of what the future people would look like. They reminded me of the Kevin Costner movie, Waterworld.

A zombie and the fascinating group of Steampunk captured our attention. My son was hiding behind my back as the zombie stared at us looking so intense and hungry.

Meet The Cool People Of The Strand

An old version of Santa with matching life-like plastic kids meeting his majesty, the King of England. The plastic kids looked eerie to me.

The Nutcracker and her charming lady…

The very entertaining assistant of Dr. Zoso. Who’s Dr. Zoso? He can read minds and see the future except his. Ha, ha, ha! My son and the other kids enjoyed immensely his funny predictions and intriguing smoke effects.

The boy asked Dr. Zoso, ” where’s my address? ” He replied, “Smart question young man. You’re address is at a place other than this one.” My wife kept laughing at a corner.

The pretty ladies of the village joined a contest for “Best In Victorian Costume.” Guess who won?

I asked the zombie guy, “Are those contact lenses?” He did not answer. He looked at me blankly with his glassy eyes. I asked again, “Are those contacts?” He finally replied in a deep scary voice, “I’m dead!” I knew he was a zombie, duh!

Fun Things To Do At The Town Square

Get Arrested Happily.

Join the pageantry. Some of the contestants made their own dress for 2-4 months.

Admire the town’s old buildings.

Shop and dream…

Attend a make-believe masquerade ball. Even I can’t resist this smile.

Enjoy the view on top of an elephant.

Overcome your fear of heights by riding a 7 foot camel, ready or not.

Be entertained by a fire juggler.

Learn archery using a NERF bullet.

Celebrate Christmas in the most memorable and beautiful way.

As we left The Strand, the bagpipers went around the square for the last time engulfing the air with its spellbinding music. This time it’s telling us to be back for next’s year festivity. We left happily, filled with wonderful memories. We will always remember the magic of Dickens On The Strand.

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About Island Traveler

A father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a traveler, an optimist hoping to create something good & meaningful to every person he shares his world, his home, his dreams, his hope & heart with.
This entry was posted in 31 Days Of Christmas, Events, family, Inspiration, Life, photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to The Magical World Of Dickens On The Strand

  1. rutheh says:

    I am sending this post to my son’s in-laws as they have a Dickens event in Roanoke Virginia coming up.

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  2. mysterycoach says:

    Wow, this is SO COOL! And yes, they are contacts. A friend of mine has those or some similar (cuz I can’t see these) and they’re wicked as all git out! 🙂

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  3. misswhiplash says:

    what a splendid time you had and you took some lovely pictures. A day to remember and to look back and enjoy

    Blessing my friend

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  4. RVingGirl says:

    LOVE the whole scene. There was something about those times. Terrific photos and wonderful memories.

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  5. So glad you could make this event. For years we went with the girls as they performed at Dickens on the Strand in a group called Encore Youth Performers. They performed for many events. Dickens on the Strand as well as the Christmas party at the Shriner’s Hospital were regular bookings. I’m so glad they have the memories and that experience to carry them through the holiday season. One year a descendant of Charles Dickens rode in the parade. He looked just like I would imagine Charles Dickens looked from any likenesses we have of him today. Awesome experience. Your weekends are really full! These are definitely years to cherish with your wife and son.

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    • Yes, I will cherish this wonderful event for always. Thanks for sharing you past Dickens trip with your family. Sounds fun , enjoyable and full of great memories. Merry Christmas to you and your family. May year 2012 bring us all loads of wonderful blessings.

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  6. Susan Shay says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Dickens with us! I’ve been to Galveston, but I only saw the ocean and Moody Gardens. Here in Okie Land, we don’t have a strand, much less a Victorian parade.
    (If we had the Victorian dress contest, our girls would probably have cowboy boots under their hoops! LOL)
    Again, thank you.

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    • Moody Gardens is all lit up with Christmas lights this year. And the Ocean….always beautiful not matter what season. May be next year you can visit this part of Galveston. I told my wife , we should have done this years ago. She couldn’t agree more. Thank you.

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  7. What a wonderful, colorful event! I love watching all the movie versions of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” this time of year, and there you get to be in a setting just like it was in the past! Did you happen to see an Ebenezer Scrooge wandering around?

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    • Scrooge? May be, I was to excited and my eyes where wandering all over the place. I may have seen him during the parade but failed to notice who he was. There’s still next year’s Dickens on the strand. Merry Christmas my friend.

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  8. zumpoems says:

    Thanks for taking us right there!

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  9. Wow that looks so amazing and what fun you must have had 🙂

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  10. Northern Narratives says:

    Lots of color and costumes, songs and people. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  11. thirdhandart says:

    It looks like you and your family had a very good time at Dickens On The Strand. The costumes are amazing, and I can almost hear the beautiful music of the bagpipers. The photo of the old bicycles (penny-farthings) is beautiful! Happy Holidays!

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  12. The whole event just looks like fun. I love all of your photos.. they just seem magical and reminds me of the magical portion of the season. I just love this. post

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    • Christmas is about love , family and the magic it brings to all of us. To me, this season is where I’m happiest, most sentimental of all. There’s something about the colors, the lights and the Christmas songs that captures my heart, imagination and memories.

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  13. barb19 says:

    Wow, that was some parade IT – another wonderful memory for your son to treasure! The photographs were like a story book, showing us what went on – Thank you!

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  14. Frank Bishop says:

    I think ( next to the ninja parade) that this is the only other interesting parade I have ever seen. Lots of cool characters, like the steampunk costumes.

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  15. semprevento says:

    Great! 🙂
    bacio
    vento

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  16. Arindam says:

    As always super post IT. I just want to thank for making us all part of that celebration. You covered everything of this event in detail. I was not reading this post, i was just feeling like i am siting with you and enjoying parade At The Old Galveston Square.
    And one more thing , that part made me smile, where you wrote “Even i can’t resist the smile.” For me that was the best photo among all.
    Enjoy this holiday season to its fullest bro. Keep smiling and stay happy. Best wishes. 🙂

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    • To me that was the best and most beautiful photo too. It was my wife who shared my adventures, good or bad, happy or sad. Have a blessed Christmas Bro. Wishing your family the best of the holidays.

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  17. Cheryl says:

    Spectacular! Magical! Wonderful!

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  18. That looks like such amazing fun! The dedication and hard work that people put into preparing for and staging events like this is incredible.

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  19. wordsfallfrommyeyes says:

    This was magic, total magic. But you have had Christmas with your parents & siblings for the last 8 years? Hell, I think of my family of misfits – some mentally ill, one who changed her surname by deed poll and cut herself off from all, etc, and I think it’s f*ked up for me – but I wonder what is the story behind it for you, oh Island Traveller. Whatever it is, I’m sure there’s a reason. However it is you do your Christmas, I sincerely wish you the best. Hope you feel some heart & love which is out there, and it sure is in the blogosphere I feel. Merry Christmas to you. Awesome photos.

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    • I wish you and your little angel have a Christmas full of joy and love. I wish there’s a perfect Christmas for all of us but unfortunately it’s never perfect. What we can do is make the best of it and make it memorable . Merry Christmas to you and your son.

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  20. jakesprinter says:

    Great post looks like i`m there , when i watching your photo one by one nice work friend 🙂

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  21. john tugano says:

    It’s kinda magical Christmas treat for your family Bro,I can sense a joyful Christmas ahead of you with the adventures you are showing us.You have shown us that Christmas is really worth celebrating for…I’m back bro..=)

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    • Nice to hear from you again. It’s been a challenging month for my family with problems and Christmas is the ideal event to overcome the sadness and top it happy events and memories. So far, it’s been working out as planned. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you and your family.

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  22. What a grand festival! I’d never heard of one of these in the states- and the steampunk folks were an excellent touch. Wonderful post as always- you have a supreme talent for documenting meaningful moments in life. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and yours, island traveler!

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  23. eof737 says:

    What a great celebration! The photos are fantastic, and that exchange you had with the zombie made me laugh. 😆

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  24. munchow says:

    A great coverage of an old time celebration. Your pictures are individually strong, but comes together as a whole. Colours and composition is great – as always from you. What I like the best, though, is you personal touch and style. Photographing a parade and a festival like this – and give the pictures a personal touch, is very difficult. You did a very good, my friend.

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    • Thank you. I appreciate each thought as always. I Enjoy taking pictures and capturing the moment particularly the ones made by my family. One day, they will refresh my memory of how good life was…. Happy holidays my friend. Wishing your family the best.

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  25. I am so bummed that I missed this event this year! Your pictures are terrific. Thank you for sharing this wonderful festival It is one of Galveston’s best. Merry Christmas!

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  26. Pingback: In Accepting This Award… | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

  27. You made me think of my copy of Dickens’ -The Life of Our Lord- which he hand-wrote expressly and only for his children.
    Kept in the family, it was denied publication until his son, Sir Henry Fielding Dickens perished, his will then allowing publication. It first appeared to the public as a series in1934, and as a hardback by Westminster Press in 1986. The current edition is available from Thomas Nelson.
    It is an amazing thing to see with botanical drawings, engravers’ capitals, hand marbeling, and a foreward by Lady Marie Dickens. The most wonderful facet of it, though, is the photo-facsimiles of his handwriting, written only once, as a first draft–Dickens writing from the love in his heart–to his children.
    It is completely fascinating.

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    • I need to read this book and the pure meaning of it all. I agree, it has been commercialized that people has forgotten what it really stands for. As for those who are not so familiar with it, it’s easy to be blinded my the shimmering glitters of the material world. I wish I read his works for the event, that way I could really appreciate its story. In a way though I was glad that I went to attend the parade, I still saw an old Christmas that the modern times seem to have forgotten. Thank you sharing your thoughts. Full of wisdom and enlightenment.

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  28. MOL says:

    I knew this would be quite the blog entry so I saved it for when I would have more time to look it over, read it, enjoy it, savor it. Great account of the event. This made me feel as though I was there. Such vivid pictures.

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  29. Fergiemoto says:

    Very cool! It looks like it was a very enjoyable event!

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  30. jhirzel88 says:

    I’m glad you got a chance to see tickets appear like magic. I never get that kind of treatment when I go to any special events. I can see there was a lot of things to do there. I liked the part where a kid asked “Dr Zoro” if he knew his address. He did! He’s a smart magician.

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  31. Love the “Dr. Zoso” act . We were laughing so hard and the smoke effect never fails to amuse, even startle. Thanks for the visit.

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  32. rommel says:

    Wow! Oughtta be a very exciting event.

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