Every year in downtown St. Charles, the town’s historic Main Street comes alive with holiday spirit.
The festival, known as St. Charles Christmas Traditions, runs from Nov. 26 through Dec. 24, with events taking place on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The month-long festival features characters and festivities from around the world.
This year’s events start off with the opening ceremony at Frontier Park at noon Nov. 26.
This will mark the 47th consecutive year of the festival and feature Mr. and Mrs. Claus as they are welcomed back to Main Street for the holidays. A wide range of other characters will also be present, including Jack Frost and Rudolph.
At noon Saturdays and Sundays, the Santa Parade makes its way down Main Street, featuring carolers singing modern, classic and Victorian-era tunes. Part of the charm is a series of Santa figures dressed in the cultural attire of their home countries.
These traditions help bring the history of St. Charles to life.
“Nothing captures an old-time Christmas better than this area,” said St. Charles historic tour guide Linda Briggs-Harty.
During all festival hours, Santa’s cottage will be open to the public at the Katy Train Depot in Frontier Park. This cottage is set up as one of Santa’s secret workshops, and visitors can help make toys as an honorary elf. While there, visitors can see the Reindeer Hall of Fame, as well as peek into Santa’s mailroom.
Near the cottage is an exhibit that showcases the history of the Christmas tree. “Oh Christmas Tree: The Evolution of an Icon” leads visitors along a whimsical path that shows how fashion trends influenced the way Christmas trees have been decorated over the years.
Perhaps the strangest event of Christmas Traditions is the Krampus Karnival, which takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. every Friday except for Nov. 26. Here, guests can meet many of the wacky characters from Christmas stories around the world: Krampus from Bavaria and Austria, Gryla the Ogress from Iceland and many others. It’s not at all scary, however; the event is far more silly than spooky.
For more information, contact the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau at 636-946-7776, or visit their website at discoverstcharles.com.