WINTER TRADITIONS OF WEST ST. LOUIS COUNTY
West St. Louis County’s many festivities will put even the biggest Scrooge in the holiday spirit.
Stepping into past holiday times through self-guided walks at Faust Historic Village in Chesterfield is an annual tradition for many of the city’s residents and their friends. This year’s event theme at the village is “Holidays on the Home Front,” with decorated houses spanning various battle eras from the 1860s to the 1960s—the Civil War to Vietnam.
Located inside St. Louis County Faust Park, 15185 Olive St., this Chesterfield holiday event will be held for two days only, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. December 8 and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. December 9.
Vintage holiday customs surround guests on the walks, which are done at each visitor’s own pace. Historically dressed docents that match each house’s era will be in attendance. Tickets for this event are $10 for adults in advance and $12 at the gate—cash only. Children’s tickets are $5 for ages 4-12 and free for children under 4.
This annual open house generally is held regardless of weather, and typically features indoor Christmas trees decorated with period accuracy.
Faust Historic Village preserves West St. Louis County’s vernacular architecture and history with four homes and 13 structures representing a variety of building styles, from log to brick. The village spans a period from 1840 to 1910 and illustrates lifestyle differences representing various developments of the time periods. The village provides a context in which settlers of St. Louis County survived, along with skills they needed, such as blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, natural dyeing and antique arts.
Additionally at Faust Park this year, Santa will be at the 1920s-based St. Louis Carousel from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. December 10 to join the day’s special amusement rides and personal discussions with children.
Drive through Santa’s Magical Kingdom at 5300 Fox Creek Road in Eureka, enjoying millions of shimmering lights, animated scenes and dazzling special effects. Stop inside the kingdom and see Santa every night from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. November 17 through December 25 in his workshop at Kringle’s General Store. Elves can take photos of the visit. The store sells unique gifts, toys, apparel and holiday decor. Guests also can make reservations to ride in an old-fashioned wagon or on the Santa Express Train.
Check out “That Christmas Lights House,” 13118 Diamond Ridge Court in Des Peres. This light show display is synchronized to music transmitted on 90.1 FM. It’s computer controlled with more than 240 string light channels and 2,000-plus color-changing pixels, says designer Bob Lambiase, who created his first display in 2006. As a self-declared extreme decorator, Bob says he first went all-out for Halloween in the space of his unfinished basement.
“When we had children, my wife wanted the space for the kids, so I had to move my decorations out, and I migrated to Christmas,” he says.
By day, Bob is an IT software developer, so he enjoys using his talents in this additional, creative manner. He also developed a smartphone app called MIIP (Mobile Internet Interactive Playlist) through which visitors can see what song is coming up next and vote up for their favorites. This year, he’s exploring additional, personalized interactive elements with the app.
Take in an annual, free holiday concert performed by Town & Country Symphony Orchestra members. This year’s concert will be held the afternoon of December 17 at Ridgeway Auditorium in Principia High School, 13201 Clayton Road. This group is a nonprofit orchestra that was founded in 1964.
Music director and conductor David Lowell Peek indicates this year’s musical selection will include a Christmas celebration, Hanukkah celebration, “Home Alone” piece and a special segment from “The Nutcracker.” St. Louis Community Chorus and Rising Generations Youth Chorus will accompany the orchestra. He says the Hanukkah piece by composer Zamir Bavel will be a “St. Louis premiere.” The concert concludes with a “Hallelujah” Chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.”
Be one of 3,000 runners in Santa’s North Pole Dash at Frontier Park in St. Charles, 500 S. Riverside Drive. This year’s seventh annual dash, with a 5K run and 1-mile walk, will be at 8:30 a.m. December 2. A Children’s Snowman Shuffle occurs at 8 a.m. on Riverside Drive at Jefferson. A pancake breakfast will be held from 7:30 a.m. onward in Frontier Park by the Katy Depot. The dash is organized by the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce.
Other holiday traditions of West St. Louis County residents include:
- • Snow skiing at Hidden Valley Resort in Wildwood at 17409 Hidden Valley Drive or taking the Polar Plunge there via snow tubing. During January, they host Learn to Ski Month.
- • Ice skating at Queeny Park Ice Rink, 550 Weidman Road in Ballwin, or at Creve Coeur Ice Arena, 11400 Olde Cabin Road.
- • Driving under the Maritz pedestrian overpass above Interstate 44 in Fenton to see the “happy holidays” message and the company’s campus lit up with thousands of lights on the trees.
- • Securing a precut Christmas tree from the lot near St. John’s Lutheran School in Ellisville at 15599 Manchester Road, which is typically managed by Boy Scout Troop 782.
- • Selecting gifts from the region’s many retailers, such as The Diamond Family, 473 Lafayette Center in Manchester.
- • Learning to stir up tasty cocktails, make the perfect party platter and create two unique home bar accessories at the Crafts and Cocktails class at the Maryland Heights Community Center, 2300 McKelvey. This year’s session is December 8.
- • Joining a St. Charles tradition of turning Main Street into a Christmas wonderland, starting the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. 2017 marks the 43rd anniversary of this annual monthlong festival celebrating the best of the holiday season.