For more than 46 years, Galveston Historical Foundation has hosted Dickens on The Strand in downtown Galveston to experience the architecture, sights, and sounds of a Victorian holiday. This year finds the beloved annual event in a new configuration while addressing the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
Held December 5 and 6th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, Dickens on The Squares will offer guests ticketed access to specially crafted Dickens experiences while adhering to local, state, and federal guidelines on public gatherings. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for youth 6 to 18, and free for children five and under with tickets going on sale to the public in mid-October. Galveston Historical Foundation members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets before the public sale date. Guests in Victorian attire will receive a limited-edition commemorative keepsake. More information, including access to ticketing and event guidelines, will be posted as it is available.
This annual holiday tradition is an important community event that gives us the opportunity to welcome the holiday season each year,” explains Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director, Dwayne Jones. “Our goal for 2020 is to offer an experience, while modified within current public health guidelines, constructed as a safe and congenial environment to enjoy our traditional festival and special events. We hope that everyone can join us and adhere to safety guidelines while enjoying some of your favorite Dickens vendors and performers.”
EVENT OVERVIEW AND COVID RESPONSE
To be clear, this is not a Dickens as usual. The annual festival traditionally welcomes over 35,000 guests to historic downtown Galveston Island and a mass gathering of that size is not in GHF’s plan. This year’s event will take place in five separate locations (Hendley Green, Old Galveston Square, Saengerfest Park, Galveston Historic Seaport, and Pier 22) with each featuring a dedicated entrance and exit, strict capacity limits, mask requirements for entry and participation, sanitation stations throughout the grounds, social distancing reminders, and more from a city-approved COVID response plan.
Ticketing blocks are available for a 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. timeframes Saturday and Sunday, and tickets will only be available for purchase online. Guests will be required to wear masks upon entering and while in the squares, and access to the locations will be open in two blocks daily. A copy of the approved plan can be found here. Visitors who are unable to comply with the plan can be removed from the event grounds. In addition, GHF will remain in contact with city and community leaders and health officials. Should a spike in COVID-19 cases occur, public health emergency be issued, a natural disaster occur, or other factors that could impact the event’s safe production, GHF will respond accordingly with increased measures or event cancellation.
Each square will feature entertainment, Dicken’s pubs, and food options with a specially designed holiday market on Pier 21. The market features numerous craft, food, and holiday vendors that guests seek out each year. Additionally, the 2020 event will feature a select number of specially ticketed private events at numerous GHF sites, all following similar safety protocols.
Each year, hundreds of Dickens on The Strand entertainers and guests join GHF for the festival. A full listing of participating entertainers will be posted prior to the festival. Interested in joining? Download our application below!
ABOUT GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.