GALVESTON, TEXAS – Now’s the time to finish booking tickets to the outstanding special events that are part of the Galveston Historical Foundation’s Dickens on The Strand festival, held the first weekend of every December. Tickets are still available to the following, separately ticketed, special events surrounding Galveston’s famous Victorian holiday festival.
Holiday Handbell Concerts
5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Friday, December 5
1859 St. Joseph Church, 2202 Avenue K
$5 per person
Hand Bell Choirs perform traditional holiday favorites at St. Joseph’s Church Museum. Built in 1859 as the first German Catholic church in Texas, St. Joseph remains the oldest wooden church building in Galveston.
Approximate length: 45 minutes.
Traditional Dickens Feast
7 p.m. Friday, December 4
1880 Garten Verein, 2704 Avenue O
$65 per person (open seating)
reserved table for eight: $600; for ten: $750
This event is not suitable for children under the age of 8. Anyone occupying a seat must pay full ticket price.
Enjoy a traditional English prime rib dinner while staves from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are read between courses. Dickens descendant Lucinda Dickens Hawksley will be available to sign copies of her great, great, great grandfather’s works, following the evening’s performance. Books will be available for purchase.
Approximate length: 3 hours.
English Country Breakfasts
9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday, December 5
10 a.m. Sunday, December 6
1859 Ashton Villa Ballroom, 2328 Broadway
$25 per person
Before heading to the Festival, begin the day with a scrumptious and savory traditional English country breakfast, enjoyed in the ballroom of the oldest Victorian mansion on Broadway, Ashton Villa. Dickens descendant Lucinda Dickens Hawksley will be available to sign copies of her great, great, great grandfather’s works. Books will be available for purchase.
Approximate length 1 1/2 hours.
Menard House Christmas at The Oaks
4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Saturday, December 5
1838 Menard House, 1605 33rd Street
$10 per person
Celebrate Christmas at the home of Galveston’s founding father, Michel B. Menard. Originally referred to as “The Oaks” by the Menard family, the Greek Revival house was built on ten sandy acres in 1838. Menard imported the Louisiana live oak saplings that stand on the property today. Holiday greens adorn the lavishly decorated rooms while costumed guides conduct tours. Seasonal music is performed and holiday refreshments are served!
Approximate length: 1 hour.
Dickens of a Tour: Bottom to Top at the 1892 Bishop's Palace
Saturday, December 5
5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m.
located at 1402 Broadway
$30 per person.
Experience the unique opportunity to tour Galveston Island's masterpiece, the imposing 1892 Bishop's Palace literally from bottom to top. Colonel Walter and Josephine Gresham commissioned Nicholas Clayton, Galveston's premier architect, to design and build what is arguably the finest of the 'Broadway beauties.' Guests will view areas, not normally open to the public, of this grand structure named the 14th most important Victorian building in America by the American Institute of Architects. Holiday music and light refreshments compliment this very special tour.
Approximate length: one hour
Ashton Villa Restoration in Progress Tour
Saturday & Sunday, December 5 and 6, 2009
1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm
1859 Ashton Villa
$9.00 per adult, $6.00 per student (6-18)
Ashton Villa was built in 1859 by James Moreau Brown, a wholesale hardware merchant, railroad corporation president and banker. The first of Galveston's great Broadway mansions, this opulent Italianate Mansion set the standard for the magnificent homes that followed. Damaged by Hurricane Ike’s storm surge in 2008, guests will get a first-hand look at the continuing restoration of the first floor while the second floor, containing many original pieces of furniture and art, still offers a glimpse into the lives of a prominent Victorian family.
Architectural Walking Tour, Strand/Mechanic National Historic District
Saturday, December 5th
Sunday, December 6th
Tour Time: 9 a.m.
Starting Point: Strand and 20th Street
$5 per person, with a festival ticket
(Participants must have a festival ticket to participate in the walking tour.)
Join volunteers from GHF’s Preservation Outreach Committee an hour before the Festival begins each day for a guided walking tour of the Strand/Mechanic National Historic Landmark District. Walking the 10-block area, participants will hear interesting facts about the people, disasters and businesses that shaped what has been called the “Wall Street of the Southwest”. The tour will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at 20th and Strand Streets. Tickets for both the walking tour and the Festival will be available prior to the tour beginning.
For Group Tour reservations or information, please contact Jami Durham (409) 765-7834.
Group Advance Price: Advance Price for groups of 20 or more: One-day ticket: $8 ($12 day of the event).
Individual Advance Price, no minimum number: One-day ticket: $9 ($12 day of the event).
About the Dickens on The Strand Festival
On the first weekend in December, Galveston, Texas’ historic downtown Strand district is transformed into Victorian London as the 36th annual Dickens on The Strand festival takes place. Lamp-lit streets are filled with Victorian-clad vendors and traditional food and drink are on offer, as are Victorian-inspired crafts and holiday gifts. Those in Victorian costume enter the festival gates for half price. Parades, bagpipers, magicians, musicians, hypnotists and acrobats enliven the Strand, and the London Wharf at Pier 22 adds to the color of the event.
Queen Victoria herself, escorted by a guard of Beefeaters, greets her subjects with pomp and grace during the Queen’s Parades on Saturday and Sunday.
Visit www.dickensonthestrand.org for more information or to purchase tickets.