By MARK EVANS
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, only one of the major annual events was able to take place in Ste. Genevieve.
The annual Holiday Christmas Festival went on with only a few restrictions.
This year, committee chair Annette Rolfe expects to see the festival back at 100 percent capacity – or better.
“Everything that wasn’t here last year is back,” Rolfe said. “We’re back; everything’s – and more.”
Several things are either new or are returning after missing 2020.
At the Lions Park Spectacular, there will be free shuttle rides every 15 minutes, plus free hotdogs for kids 12 and under. Musician Vernon Flieg will be performing there, as well.
A strolling magician/illusionist, Bruce Dyvig, will be on hand from noon to 1 p.m., before he moves to the Ste. Genevieve Museum Learning Center to perform.
“He is a very renowned magician,” Rolfe said. “He’s given over 1,000 shows.”
Geoff Giglierano will return after a year’s absence, portraying Father Sebastian Meurin, one of the region’s best-known colonial era priests. He will discourse on thew importance of faith and the church to French colonial settlers and “the intersection of European and Native American spirituality.” He will be at the Centre for French Colonial Life.
The Sainte Genevieve Art Guild will hold a reception and Romantic period cello solo performance by Nicholas Pratt.
On Sunday, renown Celtic harpist Chadie Fruehwald, a professor of harp at Southeast Missouri State University, at the Church of Ste. Genevieve at 3 p.m.
Also new to the music scene here is the Rivertown Sounds Quartet Band will perform barbershop music in front of Magnolia’s on South Third Street.
Back after an absence will be the Southeast Missouri State University steel drum band directed by Dr. Shane Mizicko. It will perform at DuBourg Centre Sunday afternoon.
A Valle Market and Craft Fair will be added this year, 9-4 on Saturday and 9-2 on Sunday.
Also new, “the soulful sax man,” Paul Weddell, will be at Music Art Love on North Main Saturday night, accompanied by Paul Hogenmiller.
NICE TO BE NORMAL AGAIN
Rolfe is glad to be able to avoid the restrictions she faced in putting on the 2020 event.
“We were very pleased with last year’s results,” Rolfe said. “Due to circumstances, everyone wore a mask, as requested by musician. Everyone stood six feet apart at Lions Park when women’s club handed out the bags of candy.”
More than 600 bags of candy, and McDonald’s coupons were handed out.
“Last year’s festival was a very, very challenging situation,” Rolfe said. “It was hard to work through so many obstacles, with the looming pandemic hanging over us.”
She said she greatly appreciated the musicians and others who returned out of loyalty, despite the pandemic.
“I view those musicians as part of the Ste. Genevieve family,” she said. “They bring so much joy when they perform.”
Turnout was very respectable last year.
“All in all, it was a huge success,” Rolfe said. “This year will be an even greater success.
COVID-19 restrictions will be gone, with one exception. Due to health issues in group, the Isaac Lausell Trio will require audience members to wear masks while they perform at Music, Art, Love.
The annual Christmas Parade will kick things off Friday afternoon. Long-time Levee 3 president Vern Bauman will be grand marshal.