This delightful seasonal festival has really blossomed since I last attended ten years ago. The Cow Palace in SF becomes a charming recreation of Victorian London, with enough atmosphere to make fans like me slightly intoxicated. Ladies in bonnets and bustles stroll by with gentlemen in frock coats, while urchins in cloth caps and scamper past, looking for Oliver Twist. The spirits of Christmas wander past shops stocked with period wares, and everywhere you look are evergreen garlands.
The dark, slummy space devoted to Oliver Twist included Fagin's room, where costumed performers acted out vignettes from the novel. Drawing this was great fun and an exercise in speed-drawing. The Pre-Raphaelite Salon offered the best figure-drawing opportunity, with one male and one female model posing for a total of three long poses. The next-best drawing opportunity was the Dark Garden display windows, where models posed behind glass windows. The entire Dickens Fair is the most exciting, target-rich drawing spot I've ever seen. I could spend all day every day there for the duration. If you're an artist, don't miss it!