The second weekend of St. Charles Christmas Traditions is upon us! I’m headed out there to visit in a couple hours, but I wanted to post a quick guide with tips for this year. If you want a more complete insider’s guide to the festival, see my blog post here.
Some updates for this year:
The hands-down best place to park is the St. Charles City Hall parking garage, which is free during festival hours. It’s much closer to the street than the boathouse parking lot, and there’s always parking.
Once you arrive on Main Street, try to pick up a festival guide as soon as possible (you can find them at the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau at 230 S. Main Street), because there are a lot of new events this year.
There are more characters than ever! To collect all the cards, you’ll need to meet 48 people (plus bonus cards). So don’t plan on collecting all of them in one day; come back for another visit!
On Saturdays and Sundays at 4:00pm at Berthold Square, there’s a new event in which Mr. Charles Dickens (who has come to visit this year) retells his story A Christmas Carol, with some of the other characters acting it out. It’s funny, poignant, and beautifully done— I highly recommend it.
Be sure to come visit on Wednesday nights, 6-9! There are two fun events that night. The first is Krampusnacht, which celebrates the scarier historical legends of Christmas. Most of the characters are more funny than scary (with the notable exception of Belsnickle— he’s terrifying), and will teach you some of the darker histories of the Christmas celebration. The other (not scary) event that night is a candlelight reading of The Night Before Christmas at the first state capitol (200 S. Main). Clement C. Moore, the author, is also visiting the festival this year, and reads his story along with an accompanying violin.
Finally, if you’re looking for a time to visit when it’s not so crowded, try Saturday at 11:00, Sunday at 12:00, or any day when it’s very cold, cloudy, or raining.
Hope you can make it down this year! Merry Christmas!