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Christmas Past Comes to Life in Saint Charles

December 14, 2010

Imagine, for just a moment, you’re a kid again.  You wake up one morning and say to your parents, “Guess what guys?  Today I get to be in a parade with Santa and Mrs. Claus!  Wow… that’s so awesome … I can’t wait to ride in the carriage.  Oh, geez, I hope they’ll let me pet the horse!  Do you think so, Mom?  Oh, please … can I, Dad?”

The Lewis & Clark Fife Drum Corps lead the Santa parade.

Totally cool you say?  Well we think so, too!  In fact, that very realization happens for one lucky child on Saturdays and Sundays in Saint Charles throughout the month of December.  The Santa parade kicks off at 1:30 p.m. every weekend from Thanksgiving through Christmas.  (Parents, here’s a hint … you can register your kids for a chance to ride in the parade by going to

Santa and Mrs. Claus welcome visitors to Saint Charles.

Picture this, some 30 costumed characters promenade along historic Main Street, including the Christmas Angel, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jack Frost, the Cratchitt family and yes, even Mr. Bah-Humbug himself, Scrooge.  And, there’s no shortage of Santas! About eight in all, including Victorian Santa, Kris Kringle, Scandinavian Santa and Pere Noel to name a few. Each character has his or her own collector card so kids of all ages make a point of trying to collect each and every one.

After the parade, the Christmas Traditions characters present a mini-drama in Berthold Square, located in the 200 block of South Main Street.  This year, the crew’s performance centers around Santa’s elves who, unfortunately, have lost Mrs. Claus’ magical Christmas cookie recipe.  But as you might imagine, all’s well in the end.

The Sugar Plum Fairy skates with a young admirer.

From there, the sky’s the limit. With more than 120 shops and restaurants in the historic district, you can easily spend an entire day with the family getting into the Christmas spirit.  And for those of you who are sporting enthusiasts, the city installed an outdoor skating rink in Frontier Park, which is just one block east of Main Street along the Missouri riverfront.  On any given day, you’ll see patrons skating in the park; sometimes even our characters don skates, which makes for a terrific photo opportunity.

You’d think this local holiday celebration would for the most part attract folks from right here in our own back yard.  But not true!  For on opening day – which is always the day after Thanksgiving – I had the pleasure of watching the Santa parade with a woman from Washington, D.C.  She said she’d been attending our opening day festivities for more than 20 years. “Christmas just doesn’t feel right if I don’t start my holidays in Saint Charles,” she said.

Civil War Santa hands out his collector card to an adoring fan.

Now that’s testimony in of itself.  But don’t take our word for it, join us in Saint Charles for the holidays and let the joy of Christmas past come to life for you!

Written by Carol Felzien, communication director, Greater Saint Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau.  For more information, contact the tourism office at 636-946-7776 or toll free at 1-800-366-2427. Visit on the Web at, or visit the Christmas Traditions festival at

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