On Sunday, we made our annual trip out west to St. Charles for the Christmas Traditions festival. It’s the first time we’ve ever been there for the opening weekend, and it’s also the 40th anniversary of the festival, so there was a lot of extra fun to be had!
After an incredible lunch in the old vault at Llywelyn’s Pub, we stopped by the gingerbread village. As always, there were many amazing creations…I’m constantly surprised what people can make with food! We saw historic homes, a hobbit hole, Snoopy, Who-ville, and Olaf…something for everybody!
To celebrate the festival’s 40th anniversary, 40 ornaments were placed around Main Street and Frontier Park to represent the different Christmas legends you can find at the festival. We saw 30 of the ornaments before we had to go…it was a fun addition to our annual character hunt!
Speaking of hunting, we were reminded of this year’s Stl250 cake hunt when we saw the First State Capital cake, currently located on the sidewalk, instead of the backyard where we first saw it. There was something charming about seeing Father Christmas walk past it:
The children wanted to stop by the gazebo for a group picture:
Not only were we there for opening weekend, we were also there early enough in the afternoon to see the parade, which was another first for us. It was fun to watch the legends strolling down the brick street, and hearing the fife and drum corps play.
Even though Santa has no place in our home, it was fun seeing the Santas from around the world carrying their countries’ flags!
We collected cards from all the characters we could find. We got 29 of the 36 cards, and we saw all but one other character in the parade (I don’t think Civil War Santa was there at all on Sunday). This may have been our best year yet, and we saw all of our favorites, including the hard-to-find Master of Revels, the incorrigible Jack Frost, and Santa Lucia!
There was yet another special activity just for opening weekend…a Christkindlmarkt. For this event, there was a bonus character, the Christkind, who taught the children the first verse of “Silent Night” in German. While I was disappointed with the market itself, I was glad to see the traditional red and white striped tents, and the Christkind was an excellent addition to the cast of characters.
There is always so much to see and do in St. Charles, and we never get tired of the Christmas sights!
We make up our own cast of characters, so it was fitting that the children made their own trading card!
As always, this is one of the most looked forward to events of the Christmas season for our family, and with all of the special events going on, it was even more fun than we had expected!