Inland Empire News | The Riverside Dickens Festival

January 27, 2016

By: Megan McClain

Downtown Riverside will again travel back in time to the Victorian era with the 2016 Riverside Dickens Festival. The much anticipated two-day festival is named after the author of “A Christmas Carol” and many other stories, Charles Dickens.

Each year, a number of special events, plays and free activities surround visitors with costumed characters and historical figures.



Kicking off the festival is Pickwick’s Pub Night at 6p.m. in the Life Arts Building. Dance the night away at Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball Saturday night at 8p.m., which includes dance cards and costumed participants.

Oliver’s Alley is a fun place for kids to explore Victorian games, crafts and children’s teas and is free for kids under 12. Downtown, you can also find ladies dueling with parasols, one of the intriguing ways women in the era sent subtle messages.

Indulge in lace and grace at fashion shows in Ford’s Theater, which highlight steampunk fashion and purple creations. You may also choose to spend a raucous afternoon at The Tavern at the Dickens Festival, where madam Bad Baby Babs holds court over live entertainment and can-can girls.



A series of trials at the Riverside County Historic Courthouse range from the “Public Trail of Sinister Actors” featuring characters from Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas to three trials of historical murders. For those who are not faint of heart, the notorious cases of John Wilkes Booth, Lizzie Borden and “Jack the Ripper will be carefully examined by costumed participants. 

The festival is concluded Sunday afternoon with a choral performance at the First Congregational Church.

The Riverside Dickens Festival is February 27-28, 2016 from 10a.m.-5p.m. in Riverside’s Historic Downtown Pedestrian Mall. For full festival information, tickets and scheduled list of events visit