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

November 29 at 11:00 AM

The Gazebo at Kister Park - 400 block of South Main

The 45th Season of Saint Charles Christmas Traditions® will begin with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus,  escorted by the Lewis & Clark Fife and Drum Corps and all of your favorite Legends of Christmas. 
 

TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY

November 29 at 5:00 PM

Berthold Square - corner of South Main Street and First Capitol Drive

Join the Cobblestone Wassailiers for the annual lighting of Saint Charles' Official Christmas Tree. While you're there, take the chill off the evening air with a complimentary cup of piping hot wassail.
 

SANTA PARADE

Opening Day, Saturdays & Sundays at 1:30 PM

Parade Route - 1000 South Main Street to the parking lot of the Tourism Center (corner of First Capitol and Riverside) 

Weekends during the festival offer visitors a special holiday treat as Christmas Traditions’ famous Santa Parade brings pomp and pageantry to the historic district. Marvel at the spectacle as all of your favorite legendary Christmas figures march right down the middle of Main Street. Delight at the antics of our playful storybook characters, revel in the sounds of Christmas music through the years provided by the carolers, and witness the fanfare as an international delegation of global gift givers process while carrying the flags of their native countries. The parade culminates with an appearance of the big man himself—Santa and Mrs. Claus who arrive via horse-drawn carriage.

Follow the procession from the 1000 block of South Main to the 200 block of South Main, where behind the Visitors Center (230 South Main) you can experience the Holiday Talent Hoopla, and watch several of the Christmas legends  showcase their special skills in a talent show unlike any you’ve ever seen before. Ventriloquism, interpretive dance, stand-up comedy, mind reading…you never know what to expect in this unique competition.


OH, CHRISTMAS TREE:
THE EVOLUTION OF AN ICON

Opening Day, Saturdays & Sundays 

Katy Depot -  

Perhaps no image is as associate 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 to 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.


SANTA'S COTTAGE

Santa is excited to meet with visitors during the following hours*:

  • Opening Day, Friday, November 29 (12 noon-5pm)

  • Saturdays: (10 am to 6 pm)

  • Sundays: (12 noon to 5 pm)

  • Christmas Eve: (11 am to 1:15 pm)

*Please note that Santa’s Cottage will be closed between 1:15 and 2:30 pm on Opening Day, Saturdays and Sundays during the festival, so that Santa can join his friends in the Santa Parade.

Katy Depot - 

The Historic KATY 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).

Meet with Santa in his parlor where you can share a Christmas wish list, take a photo, and maybe even sneak a peek of the famous naughty and nice lists.

High quality professional photos with Santa are available to help remember your visit. A variety of photo packages are available and can be purchased with either cash or credit card.


CANDLELIGHT READING OF
|'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Wednesdays & Fridays from *6:30 to 8:30 PM

First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site - 200 South Main Street 

Enjoy a special telling of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by author Clement Clarke Moore, accompanied by the music of the season. *Readings happen every 15 minutes


A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Opening Day, Saturdays at 4:30 PM, & Sundays at 4:00 PM

Kister Park Gazebo - 400 Block of South Main Street 

Enjoy an interactive presentation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that is sure not to be a humbug! Watch as Ebenezer Scrooge relives that fateful Christmas Eve night with the help of a few surprise Legends of Christmas!


THE COBBLESTONE WASSAILIERS IN CONCERT

Opening Day, Saturdays & Sundays at 3:30 PM

Berthold Square - corner of South Main and First Capitol Drive 

Come enjoy the dulcet tones of Saint Charles' own Cobblestone Wassailiers as they all join together for a concert. Singing many of your beloved carols, and beautiful songs that you'll be delighted to hear for the first time, our carolers promise to provide a concert both young and old will enjoy!


EVENING CANDLELIGHT PROCESSIONALS

Wednesdays, Fridays, & Saturdays at 8:30 PM and Sundays at 4:30 PM

900 Block of South Main Street to Berthold Square 

Each day of Christmas Traditions ends with our special candlelight procession. Join this lovely procession in Berthold Square, where the Cobblestone Wassailiers will lead a sing-a-long of traditional Christmas carols under the glow of Saint Charles' official Christmas Tree.


ICE BLOCK PARTY

Opening Day, Fridays & Saturdays at 6:30 PM

Berthold Square - corner of South Main and First Capitol Drive 

Have you been given the cold shoulder from your favorite friends? Wishing to chill out with some of the coolest Legends of Christmas? Don't get cold feet! Come meet Jack Frost and his pals for the best ice block party on Main Street. This hoopla is "snow" joke!


LAND OF SWEETS DANCE PARTY

Opening Day, Saturdays & Sundays at Noon

Kister Park Gazebo - 400 Block of South Main Street 

Twirl, tap, or taffy twist your way to the gazebo in Kister Park to boogie along with Clara, the Nutcracker Prince, and Sugar Plum Fairy. Showcase your best dancing skills or learn some sweet new moves. You'll leave with visions of sugar plums dancing in your heads and carols ringing in your ears.


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

Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

Katy Depot - 

You’d better watch out! Krampus is coming to town! On Wednesday and 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) friends. From Gryla (the quirky Icelandic ogress) to Mari Lwyd (the whimsical skeletal Welsh horse), and those whacky mischievous Greek trolls, the Kallikantzaroi, they have all assembled and have transformed the deck of the historic KATY Depot in Frontier Park into a turn-of-the-century carnival mid-way.  Step right up as these madcap carnival barkers share their stories in the form of classic boardwalk games. But look closely and you’ll see that these games have been “Krampus-fied!” You’ll never look at a game of cornhole the same way again once you’ve tossed a human-shaped beanbag into the mouth of a wooden ogre. Continue inside the KATY 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. Spin the wheel of misfortune, and have a laugh at Krampus’ comical antics. 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.”


VOICES OF CHRISTMAS

Saturdays & Sundays at 2:30 PM

OPO Plaza - 119 South Main Street 

Share in the sounds of the season as guest choirs from across the region present a program of special music and joy. These schools and community groups are sure to have you smiling and reminiscing about holidays gone by and help you begin new traditions as well.


MEET SANTA'S REINDEER

December 21 & 22 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Backyard of the First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site - 200 South Main Street 

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen - now get the chance to meet some of their antlered brethren up close. They won't be playing reindeer games, but you won't want to miss the chance to visit with and have your photo taken with these beautiful animals.


CLOSING CEREMONY & SANTA SEND-OFF

December 24 at 1:30 PM

Parade Route - 1000 South Main Street to the Parade Stage 

As another year of Christmas Traditions comes to a close, you won't want to miss the opportunity to say so long to your favorite Christmas Friends as they gather at the Parade Stage for a cheerful Closing Ceremony that culminates in the annual Santa Send-Off! Come and cheer Santa and Mrs. Claus as they board a horse-drawn carriage to head back to the North Pole in preparation for the big night.

 

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