The city of St. Charles is looking to hire a new actress to play the Sugar Plum Fairy during this year's Festival.
Last year, the city decided not to rehire actress Laura Coppinger, who had played the Sugar Plum Fairy for five years, because she cursed during a pre-employment drug test.
Coppinger said and learned she'd have to provide another sample, making her late to a job interview, according to an article published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
, specifically that Christmas characters don't know naughty words.
This will be the second year that characters in Christmas Traditions are considered seasonal, part-time employees for the city and would be required to undergo a background check and a drug test.
City spokeswoman Carol Felzien said she views actors who portray Christmas Traditions characters as similar to the actors who play Disney characters.
"When you're in character, your behavior needs to be sublime and it needs to be melded with the character you are representing," she said.
Felzien said she sees the entire hiring process from drug testing to casting to auditions to orientation as no different from any other job.
"If I'm going to any other job interview I'm wanting to put my best foot forward...," she said. "We would expect them to act professional in all those circumstances."
Auditions for the role of Sugar Plum Fairy and several other characters are scheduled for Aug. 24 and 25 by appointment. Tenured actors who have had a role for three or more years can skip the audition process but still have to go through the drug screening. ()
Theresa Rubio, owner of , said she's glad the city didn't hire a new Sugar Plum Fairy last year, but thinks this year it is fine to look for a new one.
"I think it's all kind of water under the bridge now," Rubio said. "Last year it was such an uproar, a lot of people were upset."
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Rubio and the owners of hired Coppinger to work as the at their shops in December. They also did a food drive to benefit local food pantry called "Hunger is a Naughty Word." Rubio said it was a good business decision at the time.
"I think it brought down a lot of kids and adults, people who expect to see her every year," Rubio said. "We have not discussed having her this year, we said we'd wait and see."
Coppinger didn't immediately return requests for comment.
Overall, the publicity surrounding the incident brought out more people to Christmas Traditions, Rubio said.
"Sometimes negative publicity is good publicity," she said. "In a roundabout way it did a good thing for everybody."
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