Stepping onto Mission Inn Ave. this weekend will give you the feeling that you’ve become unstuck in time, somehow transported from the information age to times when life seemed a lot simpler—however you’ve also just walked into one of Riverside’s best festivals. The Dickens Festival will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the dedication to the life and era of the greatest English novelists of all time: Charles Dickens, who wrote iconic works such as A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist and Tale of Two Cities. Take advantage of the extensive Victorian age activities and entertainment faithful patrons look forward to each year at the festival. Show off your class in your steampunk threads as you twirl your matron at Mr. Fezziwig’s ball. As you stroll down the street, countless enthusiastic performers in elaborate costume, like the four-part harmony group Belles of Bedlam, will transport you to 19th century London. The fine ladies and lads in the London marketplace will then help you find original artwork for your home, decorative pieces to vamp up your gown or a place to create your very own Victorian hat or bonnet—stacked with lace, feathers or whatever you desire. At the festival’s most popular event, the fashion show, participants model day dresses complete with solid bodices and lace collars, as well as evening gowns with off the shoulder necklines and petticoats that exaggerate ruffled layers—all classic period attire. You will get to meet famous persons from the past, including Queen Victoria and the titular man himself. This is only a short preview of what excitement traveling back in time will bring.
Mission Inn Avenue between Orange & Lime streets, Downtown Riverside, (951) 781-3168; www.dickensfest.com. $5-35.