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Headlining 2014 festivals and events

Courtesy City of St. Charles Corp.

St. Charles Christmas Traditions
St. Charles, Missouri
Christmas is a special time of year anywhere you go. But in St. Charles, Missouri, a Mississippi River town just outside of St. Louis, historic ambiance and a cast of characters come together to make the holidays especially memorable for visitors.

The event is called St. Charles Christmas Traditions, and it will celebrate its 40th year in 2014.

“This is an event that has built a widespread tradition over the years,” said Carol Felzien, director of communications for the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The South Main Street Preservation Society came up with this idea back in the 1970s when they were restoring our historic district, and the festival has occurred annually ever since.”

Christmas Traditions always begins on the day after Thanksgiving and continues through Christmas Eve. During that time, visitors can enjoy the historic ambiance of St. Charles, which comes alive with both period and contemporary decorations for the holidays.

“On South Main, the buildings are circa 1800, and North Main is circa 1900,” Felzien said. “The full street is decorated with white twinkling lights, red bows and thousands of feet of greenery and boughs.”

Throughout the monthlong celebration, actors roam the downtown district dressed as various Christmas characters, among them Santa and Mrs. Claus, Tiny Tim and Bob Cratchit. Visitors can collect souvenir cards from each of the characters or see them come together in special parades and short plays that take place throughout the season. Other highlights are horse-drawn carriage rides, a tree-lighting ceremony and a live Nativity scene in Frontier Park beside the river.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.