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Ste. Genevieve will be celebrating its annual Holiday Christmas Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Quaint and charming Ste. Genevieve is known as Missouri’s first settlement founded in 1735. It’s a picturesque sight to visit especially when it is decorated for the holidays. But what really makes the Holiday Christmas Festival unique is the large number of music concerts and activities that take place over two special days.

On Saturday, the fun begins with one of the largest holiday parades in Missouri – more than 100 floats, classic cars, bands and entertainers. Following the parade is an endless variety of musical groups set in a venue of holiday-decorated churches and historical buildings. Meanwhile, the Lions Club will feature food (free hot dogs for kids under 12), entertainment, free shuttle rides and even free photos with Santa. All the shops will be decorated for holiday shopping and the restaurants will be serving up some of the finest food south of St. Louis.

Sunday features even more musical entertainment and holiday cheer. It’s the event that will definitely put you in the holiday spirit.

“This year will be another incredible experience” said Annette Rolfe, executive director of the Holiday Christmas Festival. “The SEMO Chamber Choir will be performing, classical guitarists, SIU’s Isaac Lausell Latino Jazz Trio, the Southeast Missouri String Quartet, historic French singers, French café singers, Bluegrass, Country Western, and a symphonic wind ensemble. New this year is a Kantorei Choir and Joyful Sound Ringers (handbells) of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Jackson, directed by Professor Matt Palisch who will accompany them on the Ste. Genevieve Catholic Church pipe organ. There will also be harpist Terri Langerak renowned for classical ethereal, and new age styles, but especially for playing classic rock and jazz. The festival is based on 700 years of Christmas-themed music – everything from Renaissance to contemporary and from choral to string. It is now a holiday tradition destination.”

In addition to holiday cheer you’ll see so many firsts in American History west of the Mississippi, such as the first brick building, the first Masonic Lodge, the first Catholic Church, the first hotel, the first public school, early French and German architecture and many other famous sites. For more information contact the Welcome Center at 800- 373-7007 or online at www.VisitSteGen.com

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