La Guiannée (La Guignolèe)
New Years Eve
Founded by French merchants and fur traders, Ste. Genevieve remained a French speaking enclave for many years in the newly Americanized Midwest. Sadly, the last generations of native French speakers are disappearing, but cherished traditions like La Guiannée still remain. This ancient tradition, analogous to the English custom of Wassailing that dates back to Europe’s Middle Ages, is celebrated by descendants of those French settlers. You can watch 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 Ste. Genevieve’s Historic District.
Ste. Genevieve Kings Ball
First Saturday in February
VFW Hall, Memorial Drive
The King’s Ball, originally held to celebrate twelfth-night, is another early French settler tradition that dates back over 250 years. Attendees are encouraged to dress in French Colonial attire and participate in traditional music and dance. Some guests dress their tables with candelabra, tablecloths, wine and food so dancers can “nibble their way around the hall and visit”. Don’t miss this this “French” Mardis Gras in Missouri! Sponsored by the Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve, proceeds benefit historic preservation activities and other projects.
Spring Garden Walk
Weekend Following Mother’s Day
The Ste. Genevieve Master Gardeners’ annual Garden Walk, held in the downtown historic district 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. Other activities include a Master Gardeners’ plant sale, private vendors, discounts at participating downtown merchants, art exhibits and, on Saturday, the Farmers Market.
French Heritage Festival
Second Weekend in June
Celebrating 300 years of French culture and traditions! Living history, live traditional music, folk dancing at the Felix Valle State Historic Site, french foods, re-enactors in period dress, historic home tours, street dance with wine & beer tent, promenades (parades), children’s activities, walking tours, tea with ‘Marie Antoinette’ at the Guibourd and much more!
Pere Marquette Park
Ste. Genevieve’s Independence Day public gathering with music, speeches and fireworks. Admission is FREE!
Ste. Genevieve County Fair
Mid Weekend in July
County Fairgrounds, North Main Street
The fair includes a parade, livestock shows, demolition derby, horse show, truck pulls, tractor pulls, queen contest, 4H and FFA exhibits and live entertainment most nights. There is a lot to see and do for adults and children all weekend with plenty of good food and entertainment.
Jour de Fête
Second Full Weekend in August
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.
Rural Heritage Day
St. Mary’s Road
Rural Heritage Day is a celebration of history, reverie and reminiscence dedicated to the hard working founders of Ste. Genevieve. Come see how it used to be done – whether it’s farming, cooking, spinning, lace making, leather working, soap making, wood carving, gardening or good old-fashioned games. Watch demonstrations of the handicrafts of yesteryear. Stay till the evening and enjoy the “Spirit Reunion” – a fundraiser for Memorial Cemetery that features costumed ‘Spirits’ telling the stories of the early settlers buried there.
Christmas in Ste. Genevieve
First Full Weekend in December
Experience a wonderland of festivities 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. Other activities include a Christmas parade, caroling, colonial decorations, free pictures with Santa for the little ones, the Art Guild Art Show & Sale, downtown shop refreshments, some historic site open houses, a Friday night Variety Show at the local Performing Arts Center and an old-fashioned Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Saturday evening at the Welcome Center!