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Free Events

Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® is a month-long celebration, the festival runs Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve.


OPENING DAY CEREMONY

Location: Jaycee Stage – Frontier Park
Time: Friday, November 25th at 12pm

Ring in the opening of the 48th season of Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® as all of the legends of holiday folklore join together to welcome Victorian Santa Claus back to historic Main Street. Heralded by the Lewis & Clark Fife and Drum Corps, Santa and Mrs. Claus will assist Mayor Dan Borgmeyer with the ceremonial ribbon cutting, marking the official start of the holiday season.

 

THE SANTA PARADE

Parade Route: 100 block of North Main to 900 block of South Main
Time: Saturdays & Sundays at 12PM

Weekends during the festival kick off with a special holiday treat as Saint Charles Christmas Traditions’® renowned Santa Parade brings pomp and pageantry to the historic district. Marvel at the spectacle as all of your favorite Legends of Christmas march right down the middle of Main Street.  While you delight in the antics of your favorite holiday figures, the carolers will provide the soundtrack as they take you on a musical journey of festive tunes that span from classic Victorian carols to holiday standards of the 1940s and 1950s.You won’t want to miss the parade’s grand finale, where an international delegation of global gift givers (each carrying the flag of their native country) herald the arrival of the guests of honor: Santa and Mrs. Claus (who arrive via a horse-drawn carriage).

 

SANTA’S COTTAGE

Location: The Historic KATY Train Depot in Frontier Park
Time: All festival hours

The Historic KATY Train Depot in Frontier Park has been a Saint Charles landmark since it opened in 1893. But not many people know that during the holiday season, Santa uses it as a special workshop outpost as he counts down to Christmas Eve. Mr. Claus wants to let you in on the secret as he welcomes you to become an “honorary elf,” as you explore the workshop, get a glimpse of his busy mailroom, and witness the majestic Reindeer Hall of Fame, where you can learn some of the stories of Santa’s lesser-known reindeer (you know…the ones that didn’t have a red nose).

 

OH CHRISTMAS TREE: THE EVOLUTION OF AN ICON

Location: The Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park
Time: All festival hours

Perhaps no image is as associated with the holiday season as the Christmas tree. For centuries these festive evergreens have not only provided a fitting place for Santa to deposit gifts but have stood as a global symbol for the hope and meaning of Christmas.

Journey to the Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park to experience “Oh, Christmas Tree: The Evolution of an Icon,” an exhibit that will lead visitors on a gentle winding path through history as a forest of tannenbaums illustrate how trends and fashions effected the stylings of trees over generations. From the first illumination introduced onto pine trees by Martin Luther, to the mid-century modern flair of aluminum trees in the 1950s and 1960s, discover interesting trivia as you view international variations of this holiday icon, while celebrating famous depictions in popular culture (from Charlie Brown’s sad sapling to Seinfeld’s “Festivus Pole”).

Though the style has changed over the years, one thing is certain: this exhibit will leave you pining to learn more about the holiday season’s biggest decorative star.

 

SAINT CHARLES CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS® PRESENTS: A CHRISTMAS CAROL STROLL

EVERY Wednesday (6pm-9pm) 

After enjoying all of your favorite Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® programming on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, we welcome you to join us on Wednesday evenings for a new Dickensian affair. Behold the transformation of our Main Street USA into the foggy streets of 1840s London as you are invited to enter the world of Charles Dickens’ enduring holiday classic, A Christmas Carol. Become a part of the story as memorable scenes and characters hop off the page and come to life. Walk in the footsteps of Ebenezer Scrooge as you experience his adventures with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come first hand.

Follow the path through the historic district as the plot unfolds. Keep a sharp lookout for surprises as you have run ins from a variety of unique citizens of Victorian England (including lamplighters, music hall performers, nineteenth century toy vendors, haberdashers, and perhaps even her majesty Queen Victoria herself!)

 

KRAMPUS KARNIVAL: THE BIZZARE, ODD, AND CURIOUS TRADITIONS OF CHRISTMAS

Location: The Historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park
Time: Friday evenings (excluding November 25th) from 6pm-9pm.

You’d better watch out! Krampus is coming to town! On Friday nights, be prepared to experience some of the wonderfully weird holiday customs from around the globe as Krampus (the furry, punitive partner of Saint Nicholas in Bavarian and Austrian culture) has arrived in Saint Charles with his notorious batch of kooky (but friendly) ne’er-do-wells: Gryla (the quirky Icelandic ogress), Mari Lwyd (the whimsical singing skeletal horse from Welsh culture), Frau Perchta (a mysterious figure from Alpine folklore), and those whacky mischievous Greek trolls, the Kallikantzaroi. They have transformed the deck of the KATY Depot into a turn-of-the-century carnival midway. Step right up as these madcap carnival barkers share their stories in the form of “Krampus-fied” carnival games. Continue inside the depot where you will see that Krampus himself has decided to re-decorate Santa’s home-away-from-home. With eerie lighting and the sound of macabre Christmas carols floating through the air, enter Santa’s parlor that has been re-imagined as Krampus’ lair. Have a laugh at Krampus’ comical antics, and don’t forget to snap a photo with him (guaranteeing you the most unique Christmas cards on the block this year!) Create lasting memories as you discover the peculiar holiday traditions from around the world during this curious experience that is certainly more “merry” than “scary.”

 

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