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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Annette Rolfe, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve Holiday Christmas Festival, could not have been happier with the 39th annual edition.
“I was very, very pleased with the turnout,” Rolfe said. “I thought the parade was spectacular. Actually, Monday morning, I had the president of the Corvette Club call me up and said it was the finest parade, most magnificent parade they’ve ever seen, and that they are definitely coming back next year.”
The Cape Girardeau Corvette Club made up just one portion of the mammoth parade.
“I had put all the Corvettes together, including the ones that were from here with the Corvette Club, because I felt that that was going to make a huge entrance,” she said.
Rolfe said she decided to separate the ‘Vettes from the rest of the eclectic collection of antique and classic cars in the parade.
“I thought they should be in a class of their own too, because there were so many different ones and so diverse,” she said. “And I just felt like if I merged the Corvettes with that, you would lose the focus of both. So I put them in different sections.”
She said she felt the long line of Corvettes, so cutting-edge when introduced, made a nice contrast against the historic downtown buildings.
Overall, she called the parade “spectacular,” and said others have shared that view.
“Like the Corvette Club said, it’s the best one they’ve ever seen,” she said. “And they go to a lot of parades, so that says a lot.”
She also praised the floats.
“I thought the floats were absolutely spectacular,” she said. “The amount of work that went into each and every float, it was just incredible.”
She also had praise for the Lions Club, which provided some 150 free meals to children.
“You know, they could have made a couple of thousand dollars off of that and they gave that out for free,” she said. “And they do this as a community service to all children 12 and under. And they need to be extremely praised.
And, of course, there was the wide array of first-class music during the weekend. When world-class viola performer Rosanna Cauti had to be hospitalized, the Southern Illinois university String Quartet filled for her slots.
“You know, the string quartet has really become extremely popular and it was a tight squeeze on both shows, you know, because everyone loves them so much.”
Of course the enthusiastic support spread throughout the musical acts.
“All the shows had really wonderful turnouts,” Rolfe noted.
She called Stormy and Eric Bennett’s concert at the Orris “extremely warm, inviting, and very, very special.”
To Rolfe, the festival has a rhythm, like an ocean wave.
“We started out with the parade, which is like a giant wave,” she said. “It’s like riding on the surf, like if you’re surfing and you’re coming in, and you’re surfing on this huge wave, and it goes on, like you’re going through the ocean on a wave, and it goes on until 6 o’clock in the evening at the tree trimming. The next day the wave comes down and it starts with this calmness of the classical music, the classical guitar, the impressionistic music, then the wave rises to the steel drum band, and then you go across the street and come back down again to the harpist and her friends.”
She was pleased that renowned harpist Chaddie Fruehwald brought accompanying musicians with her to perform at the Church of Ste. Genevieve.
“I love it,” she said. “I think it added a lot more.”
The two violinists, one viola and one cellist were added by Fruehwald at no additional cost.
Rolfe was also pleased with the overall attendance for the festival.
“There was huge crowds this year,” she said “I thought they were exceptional. I was so pleased.”