During the last month of the year, historic St. Charles turns into a winter wonderland for the Christmas Traditions Festival.
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The annual event runs every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, starting Nov. 23, through Dec. 24. It features a cast of more than 30 Christmas characters including a Victorian-era Santa and Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.
There are opportunities for photos with Santa, a parade featuring St. Nick each Saturday, carolers, dinner theater and more.
This is the third year for the city to run the annual event, which was started in the 1970s by a group of shop owners on South Main Street. The event gained international attention after the city decided not to rehire a popular character, the Sugar Plum Fairy, last year because of the way the actress behaved during pre-employment drug testing.
The Sugar Plum Fairy will return this year and is being played by a new actress. Also new is a Gingerbread House Contest, and decorating classes, both which will be held at Main Street Church.
Christmas Traditions Schedule
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24.
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25.
6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, Nov. 28 and 30.
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays in December (Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22).
12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays in December (Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23).
6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays in December (Dec. 5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 21)
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 24.
- Gingerbread House Decorating Class: Sundays, Nov. 4 and 11, 1 to 3 p.m., Wednesdays, Nov. 7 and 14, 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24, 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. at Main Street Church. Enter your house into teh First Annual Gingerbread Contest sponsored by Main Street Church and the Olde Town Spice Shoppe. Entry forms are due by Nov. 7.
- Gingerbread Village: Open during festival hours until Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. at Main Street Church.
- Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: 5 p.m. Nov. 23, Berthold Square.
- Las Posadas: 6 p.m. Dec. 1, starting in the 100 block of South Main Street. Watch Mary and Joseph as they make stops to seek shelter.
- Breakfast With Santa: 9 a.m. Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 at Mother-in-Law House. Tickets are required, $15 for children, $18 for adults. Call 636-255-6155 for tickets.
- "A Clueless Christmas" Comical Interactive Christmas Mystery: Dinner show, 6 p.m. Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, $62.50/ticket. Lunch show, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 2, $50/ticket. At the Grand Opera House Banquet Center. Call 636-255-6155 for tickets.
- Christmas Trains and Treasures: Nov. 23-Dec. 24, Wedsdays through Fridays, noon to 3 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. at the Frenchtown Heritage Museum. Cost is $1 for children, $2 for adults.
- Carriage Rides: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 23. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Rides are $5/person.
- Marshmallow Roast: 7 p.m. Fridays, between 700 and 800 blocks of South Main Street.
- Photos with Santa: 12-5 p.m. Nov. 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays at 222 N Main.
- Santa Parade: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 23 and Saturdays. Starts at 1000 South Main Street and ends at 200 South Main Street. Send Santa off at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 24.