Top Christmas Towns in the Midwest

AAA Magazine ranked the top Christmas towns in the Midwest.  Ste. Genevieve came in at #2!

Party like its 1745 in the old French village of Ste. Geneviève where the new blends with old traditions during the Holiday Christmas Festival on the first full weekend in December. On Saturday, December 4, festivities kick off with a parade led by Santa, followed by shopping opportunities and open houses honoring French Christmas traditions. On Saturday afternoon, the Felix Vallé House State Historic Site, which dates to 1818, re-creates Le Réveillon—a traditional feast usually served after midnight Christmas Mass that includes 13 desserts honoring Jesus and his disciples.

Then return to Ste. Geneviève on December 31 for La Guignolée, a French New Year’s Eve tradition. Follow costumed La Guignolèe revelers as they march to select sites in town and sing a beggar’s song for drinks and favors. The party continues at their final stop, the Centre for French Colonial Life, and participants welcome the New Year.

Ste. Genevieve Voted #2: Best Small Town Cultural Scene

“Saving St. Louis” Exhibit Opens At Centre For French Colonial Life

Things to Do in Ste. Genevieve - CFCL war exhibit Tower

French Colonial America (FCA) unveils “Saving St. Louis,” an exhibit explaining the role of the 60 militiamen who traveled upstream and were instrumental in thwarting the British attack on May 26, 1780. The exhibit opened at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at the Centre for French Colonial Life.

Militia and living history specialists will be on-site for the opening and every Saturday throughout the summer.

The “Saving St. Louis” exhibit features original and reproduction weapons and equipment used in this region by both French and Native American peoples during the late 18th century.

To help visualize the story, professional photographer Ronald Rayfield recreated scenes and militia reenact the 60 Ste. Geneviève fighters at the battle.

FCA Executive Director Geoff Giglierano said, “it may come as a revelation to many visitors, even those who are familiar with the American Revolution, that the story of the Battle of St. Louis and the role played in it by citizen-soldiers from Ste. Geneviève is not as commonly known as it deserves to be.”

The Centre for French Colonial Life is the museum building and entry point for FCA’s historic campus. The campus also offers hourly guided tours of the historic Louis Bolduc House (circa 1788) and Bolduc-LeMeilleur House (circa 1820) and grounds as well as the “Hands-on History” program at the Beauvais-Linden House (circa 1820).

The campus is owned by French Colonial America, a recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit.

May 8 activities also include “Tunes, Tomahawks & Tours,” with live music, tomahawk-throwing, and activities at the Linden House from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $3 cash only.

The Centre for French Colonial Life will be open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until further notice.

Admission for the exhibit is $5 per adult, $3 for children, and free to military members with an ID. The Centre for French Colonial Life is located at 198 Market Street in Ste. Geneviève, Missouri. Ample free parking is available behind the facility.

Follow The Centre for French Colonial Life & the Bolduc House’s Facebook page for further information and updates.

Plein Air Show and Sale

Following the European tradition of capturing the atmosphere of the outdoors, the region’s finest plein air painters are invited to join the realms of the famous regionalist artists of the 1930s by painting outdoors in the scenic Sainte Genevieve area. Contemporary painters will find the same French colonial buildings, Victorian commercial structures, and extensive gardens in the downtown historic district that intrigued the Art Colony artists some 80 years ago.

 

Chocolate Walk 2023

February 4, 2023

Do you love eating chocolate and shopping? Then this event is for you! Join in the delicious fun on the first Saturday in February in historic downtown Ste. Geneviève. With the purchase of a ticket, you will be able to sample a yummy chocolate treat at each participating shop while you explore the unique items for sale! Only 300 tickets are available, and they always sell out in advance.

To purchase tickets go to: downtownstegenevieve.org.

This event is sponsored by Downtown Ste. Geneviève.

Junior Ranger Makes Ste. Geneviève Her 345th National Park Stop

Aida Frey showed off some of the Junior Ranger badges she has obtained during trips to 345 national parks as of December 29, when she stopped in Ste. Geneviève.

Aida Frey from the Chicago area visited Ste. Geneviève on December 29, 2020, making her 345th stop at a national park.

Frey is a participant in and a proponent of the NPS Junior Ranger program. Her business card calls her the “Sweetheart of the National Parks.” She posts about her travels on Facebook (Junior Ranger Aida Frey), Twitter (@jrranger) and Instagram (@juniorrangeraida). She also has a written a book, “America, Can I Have Your Autograph?”

Frey and her family stopped through Ste. Geneviève during a trip that also included three national trip stops in Texas — Big Bend National Park, Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River, and Fort Davis National Historic Site.

The Ste. Geneviève National Historical Park was established as the 422nd unit of the National Park Service on October 30, 2020. There now are 423 national park units.

With Visit To Ste. Genevieve, Kovalski Adds Another National Park To His List

Four years ago this month, Dr. Paul Kovalski completed a 30-year journey to visit all the national parks. The dentist from Marlboro, New Jersey saved for last a park in his home state — Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. It was his 413th different national park.

Dr. Paul Kovalski posed with Mickey Koetting on the porch of the Guibourd-Valle House before Koetting led a tour of the 1806 home, one of the historic structures open for touring in Ste. Genevieve.

The National Park Service keeps adding parks, however, and Kovalski keeps traveling.

On Thursday, December 17, he visited Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, the second-newest unit in the National Park Service system — No. 422. (The Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument was established as the 423rd unit on December 10.)

Kovalski, who also volunteers many hours per year at Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, brought to Ste.Genevieve some items from that park as well as other national parks he has visited. While he rates Glacier National Park as tops on his list, he thought the story of St. Croix Island, founded in 1604 as one of the first settlements of New France, would be of interest to Ste. Genevieve history buffs.

While in Ste. Genevieve, Kovalski toured the Guibourd-Valle House operated by the Foundation for Restoration. He also visited the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center; the National Park Service headquarters at the Jean-Baptiste Valle House; and the Green Tree Tavern, which is owned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources but has been legislatively approved for transfer to the National Park Service.

Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park was established on October 30, 2020. It includes the Jean-Baptiste Valle House on South Main Street and the Bauvais-Amoureux House on St. Mary’s Road. The National Park Service is working with the city of Ste. Genevieve to jointly operate the Welcome Center, which also has been approved for transfer to the National Park Service.

Since establishment, the park has attracted visitors interested in having their National Park Service passport books stamped. Also among the visitors so far is David Kroese, an author who chronicled his visits to all the national parks in his book, The Centennial: A Journey through America’s National Parks System.

Reaching Halfway Point Between Eclipses

Monday, December 14, 2021 marks 1,211 days since the Great American Eclipse of 2017, and 1,211 days to the next total solar eclipse for Ste. Geneviève — on April 8, 2024.

A solar eclipse did take place on Monday, December 14, 2021 and it was viewable in Argentina and Chile in South America.

A photo of the 2017 solar eclipse taken
in downtown Ste. Geneviève.

Ste. Geneviève was included in the path of totality on August 21, 2017 — the first time that was the case since perhaps the 1400s.

The St. Louis area had not previously been on the centerline for a total solar eclipse since 1442, and St. Louis won’t be on the centerline for the 2024 eclipse.

The 2024 centerline will cross the United States from Texas to the northeast. The north edge of the centerline will not extend as far up as Festus but it will include Ste. Geneviève County.

As the northern end of the centerline, Ste. Geneviève will have about 2 minutes of totality; Cape Girardeau will have about 4 minutes as the midpoint of the centerline.

Ste. Geneviève had more than 2 1/2 minutes of totality in 2017 by being at the midpoint of the centerline and near the point of longest duration in Southern Illinois.

In 2017, Ste. Geneviève hosted a one-day musical festival leading into the eclipse event, and a viewing event took place at the Ste. Geneviève County Community Center.

For more information on the 2024 eclipse, click here.

Forbes magazine had a story about the halfway as well.

Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park Established

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and U.S. Representative Jason Smith on Friday [October 30] announced that U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt has completed the final step to formally establish the Ste. Geneviève National Historical Park.

Blunt and Smith led the legislation, which was signed into law in March 2018, to establish the Ste. Geneviève National Historical Park and designate it as a unit of the National Park System.

This is the first National Historical Park to be established in Missouri.

View the complete news release from Senator Blunt’s office here.

To view the release from the Department of the Interior, click here.

Click here for story from the Daily Journal.

Annual Ste. Geneviève Militia Encampment

Saturday, September 10, 2022

History comes alive in Ste. Geneviève with the annual Encampment, an 18th-century re-enactment event.

The Encampment is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Center for French Colonial Life.

The living history camp will include children’s games, colonial skills demonstrations and colonial crafts and trades such as gun building, chair seat weaving, spinning, leatherwork, and more.

The event is free and is children- and family-friendly.

The Encampment is sponsored by the Ste. Geneviève Militia, Inc, a member of Seven Years’ War, Inc., with support provided by the Ste. Geneviève County Community Foundation and the Ste. Geneviève Welcome Center.

For information, contact Doug Nickelson at dnickelson78@yahoo.com.

Octane Tour Impressed With Drive Through Ste. Genevieve

The Daily Journal published a story about the Octane Tour’s visit to Southeast Missouri during the weekend of September 11 to September 13, 2020.

The tour attracts dozens of car enthusiasts in the St. Louis area for weekend getaway drives. This year’s drive featured Ste. Geneviève County and its wine country.

Several classic cars stopped in Ste. Genevieve on Friday, September 11, and parked at downtown parking lots.

Organizer Matt Burcham was impressed with Ste. Geneviève, telling the Daily Journal:

“The response that the Ste. Geneviève businesses had with us coming into town was crazy. Everybody had handmade signs welcoming the Octane Tour.

“Some people had even made up some dash plaques and handed them out to us and other people met us, and it was really cool. All these people were taking pictures of these signs and putting them on Facebook. It was nice to see the area wanted us here. We want to try and patronize these places as we can.”

Summer Showcase Puts Ste. Geneviève’s Variety In Spotlight

August 2020

A number of programs will be taking place in Ste. Geneviève the weekend of August 14 to August 16 as part of the first Summer Showcase. Local residents and visitors both are encouraged to enjoy what the region has to offer … and to practice social-distancing and take safeguards to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The showcase is an opportunity for residents and visitors to enjoy activities at the historic downtown attractions and the community center campus. Shops and restaurants also may have special events and sales taking place this weekend. Many of the events are outside, allowing for social distancing practices. For instance, the downtown walking tour series that began in early June will continue this weekend and include two evening tours.

A National Park Service ranger led a recent walking tour in Ste. Geneviève’s downtown historic district this summer. The National Park Service has worked in cooperation with Missouri State Parks, the Foundation for Restoration and French Colonial America to offer a variety of free, themed walking tours on weekends this summer. The tours will be part of the Summer Showcase schedule.Walking tours are set for 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

The tours are offered by the National Park Service, Missouri State Parks, the Foundation for Restoration, and French Colonial America. The tours cover about one-half mile in the downtown and take 30 to 45 minutes.

Among the highlights of the tours this weekend: the evening tour on Friday features Ste. Genevieve’s historically documented scandals, while the Saturday evening tour talks about life in Ste. Genevieve from cradle to grave and focuses on the Church of Ste. Genevieve and Missouri’s oldest organized cemetery. Saturday morning is the debut of a tour focusing on natural disasters.

The tours offer an alternative for those who want to experience Ste. Genevieve’s history without going into the buildings, though those are open as well.

The Guibourd-Valle House (1 N. Fourth St.) will have an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday.

Ste. Genevieve’s German Band, a division of the Municipal Band, will perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the corner of Main and Merchant streets as part of the Saturdays in Ste. Genevieve series.

French Colonial America will have a tomahawk-throwing competition on Saturday. Entry is included with $2 admission to the Linden Hands-On History House (125 S. Main St.). Prizes will be awarded in various divisions. Activities on the French Colonial America campus also will include outdoor games from the colonial period in the yards of the Bolduc and LeMeilleur houses.

French Colonial America also will have a free croquet course and yard games at the Bolduc House and a free exhibit and bread-making demonstration at the Centre for French Colonial Life.

The Ste. Genevieve Milice will be stationed in downtown for a living history exhibit.

The Guibourd-Valle House will be serving tea and lemonade in its garden on Saturday.

Saturday also will see food trucks in downtown, with Kenny’s Flipping Burgers from 2 to 6 p.m., and Luna’s Shaved Ice from 4 to 6 p.m. along Market Street near the intersection of Second Street.

River Rapids Waterpark at the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center will be open until 9 p.m. on Saturday (August 15) and offering discounted rates as part of the Ste. Genevieve Summer Showcase.

The state-of-the-art River Rapids Waterpark on Progress Parkway will help cap the day with a rare night-time swimming event. The waterpark, which opened in July of 2019, will stay open until 9 p.m. and will offer twilight rates after 4 p.m.

Among the businesses that have announced plans for the weekend:

— Lewsi Winery (57 N. Main St.) will feature artists on Friday and Saturday during its regular hours from 2 to 6 p.m. Suzanne Thompson will demonstrate “enhanced pointillism” on Friday and answer questions while social distancing. Brenda Thompson will paint on Saturday and field questions from visitors.

— Sassafras Creek Originals (311 St. Mary’s Road) will be offer make-and-take Moravian Stars every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

— Sweet Things Sweet Shop (242 Market St.) will host the Ste, Genevieve Stompers dance group for 15-minute performances at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

— Music Art Love (199 N. Main St.) will host an acoustic night with Brianna Moore at 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 15. The cover charge is $5.

— ASL Pewter Foundry (183 S. Third St.) will feature artist/jeweler Patti Zieche-Davisson on Saturday and Sunday.

— Harold’s Famous Bee Co. (234 Market St.) will be celebrating its 1-year anniversary with various promotions from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

— The artists of Silver Sycamore Gallery of Fine Art (302 Market St.) will be in the gallery during business hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

The Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce’s Summer Concert Series will conclude on Friday with Chattahoochee, a tribute to country music star Alan Jackson. The performance at the Orris Theatre begins at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased through the chamber’s website (stegenchamber.org).

For car enthusiasts, there are two events on Saturday night.

The Gear HeadZ car club of Ste. Genevieve will host their monthly car cruise event on Third Street between Market and Merchant, The free event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. All cars, trucks and bikes are welcome.

The Ste. Genevieve Racing Series will have its bi-weekly racing event on Saturday at the Ste. Genevieve County Fairgrounds. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $3 for the grandstand.

Businesses and organizations in Ste. Genevieve have adopted precautions with regard to preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and the county has maintained a low level of active cases since the pandemic began. Masks are encouraged, as is social distancing and frequent hand-washing. Some businesses do require masks and/or limit the number of visitors.

For more updated information on the activities or businesses, contact the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center at 800-373-7007 or visit the VisitSteGen Facebook page.

(*Updated — The Luau on Main and the Movie Under the Stars have been canceled.)

STE. GENEVIEVE SUMMER SHOWCASE

LIST OF EVENTS

Friday, August 14

10:30 a.m. — Walking Tour: Creating a Creole Way of Life, from the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, 66 S. Main St.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Silver Sycamore artists will be on site at their gallery, 302 Market St.

2 to 6 p.m. — Artist Suzanne Thompson at Lewsi Winery, 57 N. Main St.

4 to 6 p.m. — Open house at Guibourd-Valle House, 1 N. Fourth St.

6 p.m. — Walking Tour: Ste. Genevieve’s Historically Documented Scandals, from the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, 66 S. Main St.

8 p.m. — Concert: Chattahoochee, a tribute to Alan Jackson, part of the Ste. Genevieve Chamber of Commerce Summer Music Series, at the Orris Theatre, 265 Merchant Street. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission $20 per person.

Saturday, August 15

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Make and Take Moravian Star, every hour at Sassafras Creek, 311 St. Mary’s Road.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Yard games (croquet, petanque, and more) in the yards of the Bolduc House/Bolduc-LeMeilleur House.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — ASL Pewter Foundry, 183 S. Third St., will feature artist/jeweler Patti Zieche-Davisson.

10:30 a.m. — Walking Tour: Natural Disasters, from the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, 66 S. Main St.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — German Band performance at the pergola, Main and Merchant streets.

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Tomahawk-throwing contest at Hands-On House, 125 S. Main St.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Silver Sycamore artists will be on site at their gallery, 302 Market St.

Noon to 5 p.m. — Tea and lemonade in the garden of the Guibourd-Valle House, 1 N. Fourth St.

1:30 p.m. — Ste. Genevieve Stompers clogging dancers, at Sweet Things Sweet Shop, 242 Market St.

2 to 6 p.m. — Food truck: Kenny’s Flipping Burgers on Market Street, between Main and Second streets.

2 to 6 p.m. — Artist Brenda Thompson at Lewsi Winery, 57 N. Main St.

3 p.m. — Ste. Genevieve Stompers clogging dancers, at Sweet Things Sweet Shop, 242 Market St.

4 to 6 p.m. — Food truck: Luna’s Shaved Ice, on Market Street, between Main and Second streets.

4 to 9 p.m. — Twilight Swim at River Rapids Waterpark. (Twilight rates are $2 off daily rates: $5 for 62 and over, $6 for ages 13 to 61; $5 for ages 3 to 12; and free for under 2.)

5 to 9 p.m. — Ste. Genevieve Gear HeadZ car cruise, on Third Street between Market and Merchant streets.

6 p.m. — Walking Tour: Cradle to Grave, departing from the Guibourd-Valle House, 1 N. Fourth St.

6:30 p.m. — Ste. Genevieve County Racing Series, at Ste. Genevieve County Fairgrounds, Grandstand opens at 5 p.m.; hot laps at 5:30 p.m., $3 admission to grandstand.

7 p.m. — Concert: Brianna Moore, at Music Art Love, 199 N. Main St., $5 admission.

Sunday, August 16

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — ASL Pewter Foundry, 183 S. Third St., will feature artist/jeweler Patti Zieche-Davisson.

10:30 a.m. — Walking Tour: Enlightened Women of Ste. Genevieve, from the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, 66 S. Main St.

11:30 a.m. — Walking Tour: The Story of Pelagie Amoureaux, from the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, 66 S. Main St.

1 to 3 p.m. — Live music at Music Art Love, 199 N. Main St.

Most Beautiful Town, Editor’s Choice

RURAL MISSOURI

Established in the 1740s, Ste. Geneviève was the first European settlement in Missouri, and much of its historic charm and ambiance is due to the remarkable preservation of the original French colonial settlement. Its narrow streets and fenced gardens surround dome of the most significant 18th century architecture in the nation.

Night Of The Werewolf

French Colonial America, 198 Market St., will host a family-friendly evening event with werewolf stories and a simulated werewolf hunt in October.

The annual Night of the Werewolf, from 7 to 9 p.m., provides a rare opportunity for night activities on the campus of French Colonial America.

Families can take a lantern-led tour of the Bolduc House; listen to werewolf stories around a roaring campfire; enjoy s’mores, cider, games, and more. In addition, patrols through downtown will allow children to hunt werewolves.

Can’t make the event, but want a souvenir shirt? Shop here.