La Guiannée, La Guignolèe or La Guillaneé - Founded by French fur traders, Ste. Genevieve remained a French speaking enclave for centuries in the newly Americanized Midwest. Sadly, the last generations of native French speakers are disappearing, but old traditions like La Guiannée still remain. This ancient tradition, analogous to the English custom of Wassailing that harkens back to Europe's Middle Ages, is celebrated by descendants of those French settlers. Dressed in bizarre and somewhat archaic costumes, the revelers wander from place to place singing a beggars song for favors. You can see and participate with these singers and musicians as they celebrate this 250 year old tradition each New Year's Eve in the streets, cafes and pubs of old Ste. Genevieve's Historic District.
Video courtesy of: Western Historical Manuscript Collection, Columbia, MO
When: December 31st, (New Year's Eve)
Annual King's Ball - The Ball, originally held to celebrate twelfth-night, is just another of Ste. Genevieve's old French settler's traditions that has been celebrated annually for over 250 years. Attendees are encouraged to dress in French Colonial attire and participate in the traditional music and dance. Some guests dress their tables with a candelabrum, tableclothes, wine glasses and buffets of food, so dancers can "nibble their way around the hall and visit". Don't miss this 'Mardi Gras in Missouri'! Proceeds benefit the Ste. Genevieve Museum and other projects.
When: First Saturday evening in February
|Image: courtesy of Garden Walk||
Ste. Genevieve Garden Walk - Ste. Genevieve Master Gardeners annual Garden Walk, held in the downtown historic district of America’s oldest French Colonial village. This is a unique opportunity to tour private and public gardens. Several gardens are part of historic homes in Ste. Genevieve and are typical of the 18th century time period. The Master Gardeners’ plant sale begins at 9am and extends through Sunday. Other activities: Private vendors, discounts at participating downtown merchants, art exhibits, and, on Saturday, horse-drawn wagon rides and the Farmer’s Market in the morning.
When: Weekend after Mother's Day in May
|Image: French Festival||
French Fest - Living history, live traditional music, folk dancing, french foods, wine tasting, re-enactors in period dress, historic home tours, FREE street dance, promenades (parades), children’s activities, walking tours, tea with 'Marie Antoinette' at the Guibourd and much more!
When: Second weekend in June
Freedom Celebration - Ste. Genevieve's Independence Day public gathering with music, dancing, food and fireworks!
|Image: SG Herald Newspaper||
The Ste. Genevieve County Fair includes a parade, livestock shows, demolition derby, horse show, truck pulls, tractor pulls, queen contest, 4H and FFA exhibits and live entertainmant most nights. There is a lot to see and do for adults and children all weekend with plenty of good food and entertainment.
|Image: R. Mueller||
Jour de Fête - The annual Jour de Fête is southeast Missouri's largest outdoor Crafts Fair. Held in the heart of Ste. Genevieve's Historic District, visitors can browse through arts and crafts booths. Shop till you drop and enjoy live music, foods, living history demonstrations and other activities at this family-friendly event.
When: Second full weekend in August
Rural Heritage Day is a celebration of history, reverie and reminiscence dedicated to the hard working forefathers and foremothers of Ste. Genevieve. Come see how it used to be done, whether its farming, cooking, spinning, lace making, leather working, soap making, wood carving, gardening, or good old-fashioned games. Watch demonstrations of handicrafts of yesteryear. Try the Lions Club's vittles or bring a picnic. Stay the day and have a blast from the past!
When: October - Please see the Events Calendar for specifics
Holiday Christmas Festival Experience a wonderland of Christmas festivities in Ste. Genevieve during the annual Holiday Christmas Festival. A cultural celebration of 500 years of holiday themed music, performed by renowned musicians from across the region, is featured at free performances in historic churches and other downtown venues throughout the weekend. A Christmas parade, caroling, colonial decorations, free pictures with Santa for the little ones, and so much more make this a truly memorable event. In addition, Ste. Genevieve Art Guild hosts an Art Show & Sale, downtown shops offer refreshments, some historic site offer open houses, a Friday night Variety Show is presented at the local Performing Arts Center and you can delight in an old-fashioned Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Saturday evening at the Welcome Center – a truly marvelous event!
When: First weekend in December