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.
- Steampunk: Dicken’s On The Strand (elaineturnerthewriter.com)
- Charles Dickens slept here (roundaboutlondon.wordpress.com)
- The Best of Dickens’s Life and Times (online.wsj.com)
- New Charles Dickens coin honors author (AP) (old.news.yahoo.com)
- Dickens of a Christmas 2011! (barntalkblog.wordpress.com)