It’s Time to Think Christmas … Christmas Traditions, That Is!

Crafts are the name of the game at Festival of the Little Hills, with everything from pottery to jewelry available.

Everyone knows all too well the temperatures have been hot, hot, hot across Missouri this summer.

In St. Charles, we’re attempting to cool things down a bit with visions of the holidays. That’s right, by the time we kick off our annual Festival of the Little Hills event – Aug. 17-19 – the St. Charles Tourism Division will be primed and ready to unveil its event guide for this year’s Christmas Traditions festival.

So if you’re in town this weekend, be sure to pick up a festival guide for an overview of planned activities during the year-end holiday season. Not going to be in St. Charles anytime soon? No problem! Please click here to browse the 2012 Christmas Traditions Festival guide online.

If you’re one to shop early just so you can check off one name after another on your gift list sans the last-minute frenzy, St. Charles will be your one-stop opportunity this weekend and then some!  Little Hills Festival hours are:

  • Friday, Aug. 17 – 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 18 – 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Sunday, Aug. 19 – 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Voted in 2011 by readers of AAA Midwest Traveler Magazine as the “Best Craft Fair in the Midwest,” this year’s festival marks its 41st anniversary in St. Charles. The festival began in the early 1970s during an era when the city celebrated its Bicentennial; the original festival featured summer picnics and community-wide, family friendly contests, covering a mere four-block area.

Shoppers explore vendors’ wares on Main Street in St. Charles.

Today, Festival of the Little Hills encompasses the entire Main Street Historic District from Monroe to Boone’s Lick, as well as Frontier Park along the Missouri riverfront. The 2012 festival will showcase some 300 crafters from more than 30 states. Visitors will find everything from wood carving to jewelry, and pottery to clothing.

“As you might imagine,” says David Leezer, the city’s director of economic development and tourism, “the festival provides a significant economic impact over the course of the three-day window. In fact, festival organizers estimate some 250,000 to 300,000 people attend annually, and that’s good news for the entire region.”

Beyond this weekend’s festival, shopping in the St. Charles historic district is always a great way to find one-of-a-kind items for that special someone on your list. And while you’re discovering all the many eclectic nuances in the largest and oldest historic district in the state, you’ll also want to discover a few new routes leading into town.

Why you ask?  Because in early November, the Missouri Department of Transportation will begin a year-long project to upgrade the Blanchette Bridge, which spans the Missouri River just east of St. Charles.

But never fear, as in addition to I-70, there are multiple routes leading in to and out of St. Charles, including Highway 370, the Page Extension (364) and Highway 94, to name a few. A quick look at the St. Charles tourism website gives you easy access to wayfinding and detour maps, as well as point-by-point driving directions.

You’ll be happy to know we still have friendly human beings who answer the phone seven days a week. So, in a pinch, please don’t hesitate to call us anytime at (636)-946-7776 or toll-free at 800-366-2427. You can access our 2012 Visitors Guide online, follow St. Charles as a destination on Facebook and via YouTube.

Finally, for those of you with an innate flair for the dramatic, the St. Charles CVB will host auditions/interviews for carolers, characters and international Santas on Friday, Aug. 24, and Saturday, Aug. 25, to fill cast openings for the 2012 Christmas Traditions festival.

Auditions will be held by appointment only and will consist of a cold reading/retelling of a holiday story. For more information, go to the St. Charles city website.

In any event, whenever you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you’ll plan to browse, shop and dine with us, if not this weekend, hopefully sometime in the very near future.  All the best from St. Charles, and here’s to staying cool out there!

Written by Carol Felzien, director of communication, Greater Saint Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau.