Image: Galveston.com

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” as they say. Just kidding, it’s just the worst of times these days.

What now, you ask? Well, Galveston Historical Foundation has officially cancelled this year’s Dickens on the Strand event, scheduled for December 4 and 5.

This handkerchief-worthy news follows the organization’s previous announcement that it would be scaling back its annual event, replacing the large festival along the Strand with five smaller “squares” throughout the downtown area (they were even calling it “Dickens on The Squares”).

GHF’s board of directors cited “the increase in local, regional, and state numbers relating to Covid-19” as the reason for cancelling the beloved event, which also happens to be the organization’s largest fundraiser. This would have been the festival’s 46th iteration.

“The decision of the board and staff simply skips a year in our long history of producing this world-renowned festival. Each December, Dickens celebrates our Victorian heritage on the island and salutes one the great Christmas stories of the English language,” GHF Executive Director Dwayne Jones said in a statement.

Created in 1974, the annual Galveston tradition, which draws around 35,000 guests, transports visitors to the 19th-century London that A Christmas Carol writer Charles Dickens inhabited when he wrote his holiday classic. During the festival, attendees get to experience the island’s historic Victorian roots for themselves as they stroll among costumed merchants and re-enactors; enjoy parades and horse-drawn carriage rides; listen to live musical entertainment (so. many. handbells.); and sample English-inspired snacks. 

While this year’s festival is officially dead as a door-nail, fear not. The good ol’ cheery days of Mr. Fezziwig will return in 2021, said Jones.

“We promise to be back next year with a fresh perspective on our holiday tradition and a healthy event for all.”  

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