Santa Claus is coming to town, and he and Mrs. Claus will be arriving in style by horse-drawn carriage at 11 a.m. Friday to kick-off the 37th annual Christmas Traditions at Kister Park in downtown St. Charles.
The Clauses will be escorted by the Lewis and Clark Fife and Drum Corps and the Legends of Christmas, a cast of 34 Christmas characters from a Victorian-era Santa to Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.
The characters, all with a back story, will roam the downtown area meeting and talking with visitors. World War II Santa, for instance, wears Army fatigues and a helmet and discusses Christmas during the war years of the 1940s.
This is the second year for the city to run the annual event, which was started in the 1970s by a group of shop owners on South Main Street.The event gained international attention after the
The actress who played the fairy, on Friday afternoon.
One of the characters who will be seen around town is Pierre Noel, representing Christmas in France. Like all the other characters, Pierre has a history and is prepared to discuss it.
"A lot of times people will be saying things to him on the street, like ‘Oh, what are the traditions in France?’ Then Pierre Noel would go into a litany of how they manage the Christmas spirit in another country," Felzien said.
Other Santas include Victorian Santa, who when he isn’t wandering around meeting folks is available for pictures at Santa’s Cottage in the lower level of the at 230 South Main Street; Frontier Santa, from the time of Daniel Boone; Civil War Santa, dressed in the colors of the American flag and looking like the Thomas Nast cartoon; England’s Father Christmas, a Charles Dickens type character; Julenisse, a Scandinavian Santa who travels with a goat named Yuley; and MacNicholas, a Scottish Santa dressed like a bagpiper.
"That’s just Santas," Felzien said. "We’ve got some other awesome characters."
The Ice Queen and her minion, Jack Frost, will also be on the scene.
Each character has a trading card to pass along to the public. The front of the card has the character’s name and photo, and the back offers a description and background of the character.
"Their schtick, if you will, their drama or whatever they say to people they meet on the street, is based on that background," Felzien said.
Victorian Carolers known as the will stroll the downtown area as quartets throughout the Christmas season, dressed in Victorian-era costumes and singing four-part harmony on traditional Christmas carols.
"They’re all characters in and of themselves," Felzien said. "If you talk to them, they all have a story to tell."
The also include the official lighting of the Christmas tree at 5 p.m. in Berthold Square in the 200 block of South Main, presided over by St. Charles Mayor Sally Faith. In a gesture to make this a "green" Christmas, the tree will become a permanent resident of the town.
"Our parks department has planted a live tree," Felzien said. "It’s a pretty good-sized tree – bigger than anything you could have in your house."
Christmas Traditions Schedule
Festival hours are 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. Sundays and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Eve.
- with an opening ceremony at 11 a.m. Nov. 25 with a parade down Main Street. Santa will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage. Meet the cast of Christmas Traditions characters, shop and experience St. Charles.
- Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will be in Berthold Square Park at 5 p.m. Nov. 24. Free Wassail for all.
- will parade down the 100 and 200 blocks of North Main Street from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 26.
- Watch the Santa Parade down South Main Street at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
- Stop by the Tourism Center to have your photo taken with a Victorian Santa each Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
- Enjoy breakfast at the Mother-In-Law House Restaurant for an up-close-and-personal visit with Santa. Santa will visit Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tickets are $15. Reservations are required, limited number of tickets available. To purchase tickets, contact Karen Godfrey at 636-255-6155.
- Complimentary Carriage Shuttle is available on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- The Las Posadas procession re-creating Joseph and Mary’s search for an inn in Bethlehem will start at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at South Main and Boone’s Lick, The procession will head to the stage in Frontier Park for singing by local choirs, a live Creche and the lighting of the Yule log.
Kalen Ponche contributed to this article.