By Mark Evans
While attention has had to be paid to keeping the public safe during the COVID-19 crisis, the 36th annul Ste.Genevieve Cristmas Holdiay Festival will go on at something very close to full strength this weekend.
The annual Christmas parade will still be held, only without candy being thrown by participants. This is to keep children from pooling together, chasing the candy. It kicks activities off at 11 a.m., Saturday.
Chris Collins, superintendent of the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, will be grand marshal.
“He’s done a lot for the community,” organizer Annette Rolfe said. “I really wanted him to be grand marshal this year.”
The parade route from the Valle Catholic Desert to Third Street to Market to Main to Washington to Second to Merchant and back to the desert is long enough to encourage social distancing for parade-watchers.
In fact, extreme care will be taken with food this year, to concentrate on the side of public safety.
There will be free photos with Santa in Lions Park. Music will be performed by Vernon Flieg. In lieu of serving food in the park this year The Holiday Christmas Festival will give a McDonald’s Happy Meal gift card to children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult,
The coupons are free while they last.
Since candy will not be thrown in the parade, the GFWC Woman’s Club has donated candy that gloved elves will be distribute to children in small bags at Lions Park.
Meanwhile masks will be requested at outdoor events and required for indoor events. Rolfe stressed that many of the performers nad speakers have health issues and requested the mask requirements indoors.
The musical lineup hs remained virtually unchanged from its inception, despite the virus. Other than the Ste. Genevieve Municiple Band, which will not do its 4 p.m. Saturday concert as originally scheduled, the lineup has stayed remarkably intact.
Matt Palisch, professor of organ for Southeast Missouri State University and director of music for St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Jackson, Missouri, Palisch, will perform a solo pipe organ concert featuring multiple genres of music from Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Impressionistic to 20th and 21st Century Christmas tunes, 2-2:45 p.m. on Saturday in the Church of Ste. Genevieve. He will also direct the Joyful Sound Ringers handbell choir.
Meanwhile, an A-List performer is joining the lineup in the person of harp sensation Amy Camie. Camie will be performing unique solo harp interpretations in her program, “Embracing the Spirit of Christmas,” weaving together holiday favorites in a seamless tapestry that gently opens the heart and lovingly wraps patrons in the spirit of Christmas at the Church of Ste. Genevieve.