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Christmas In July? Rolfe Already Planning Festival


During the long, dark pandemic year of 2020, only one of Ste. Genevieve’s full annual festivals got off the ground.

The annual Ste. Genevieve Holiday Christmas Festival enjoyed its 36th year, with only a few caronavirus restrictions.

No candy was thrown during the parade. Instead, wrapped candy and McDonald’s gift cards were handed out to mask-wearing children in Lions Park. Also, at the request of returning musicians, masks were required at the indoor musical performances.

“It was a huge success,” event chair Annette Rolfe said. “It took about four times as much work to make it a success, but it was a huge success and the result was worth it.”

Nearly every performing musician from past years showed up, despite the continuing COVID-19 situation. Rolfe called them “very professional.”

Now, although the calendar has barely hit July, Rolfe is hard at work planning the 2021 festival. This year, the COVID restrictions will be lifted.

“This year it will be a  lot more normal,” Rolfe said. “We’ll throw candy out in the parade and we’ll not be required to wear masks at the concerts.

“All the musicians are coming back, all of our beautiful musicians,” she said. “I’ve worked on it since January.”

There will be a different harpist, however. Last year Rolfe managed to land the highly-esteemed Amy Camie. This year Camie is unable to perform that weekend. Instead, another top-quality harpist will be on hand.

Chaddi Fruehwald, a Celtic-trained harpist who teaches at Southeast Missouri State,  will be here.

Rolfe said Camie was “perfectly lovely” in explaining that she could not come this year and “thanked me for everything I did for the town.”

“I think this one will be really good, too,” Rolfe said of Fruehwald. “She’s a Celtic-trained harpist. She used to teach harp down at SEMO.”