Metro-East Living

Celebrate the season at Christmas and Kwanzaa events this week

Manuel Ramos and Catherine-Lehr Ramos, both formerly of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and their three children who are all professional instrumentalists, will perform at 9 a.m. Sunday at Union United Methodist Church, Belleville.
Manuel Ramos and Catherine-Lehr Ramos, both formerly of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and their three children who are all professional instrumentalists, will perform at 9 a.m. Sunday at Union United Methodist Church, Belleville.

What’s Happening for Dec. 14.

Noon Thursday, Dec. 7, was the deadline to appear in today’s What’s Happening. We must receive your event in writing with a contact phone number for questions. Due to the large number of submissions, non-profit events are run only one time in print, will be edited and appear in the week before the event date.

Email: Mail to: Lifestyle, Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427. Questions, call Heidi Wiechert at 618-239-2500.

Holiday Fun

▪ Eugene B. Redmond Writers Club Kwanzaa 2017 — 7 p.m. Tuesday. SIUE’s East St. Louis Higher Education Center, 601 J.R. Thompson Drive, Building B, East St. Louis. Dance, poetry, drumming, gift bazaar. All are welcome at this free family event.

▪ Handel’s ‘Messiah’ accompanied by the Ramos family string quintet — 9 a.m. Sunday. Union United Methodist Church, 721 E. Main St., Belleville. The concert will be followed by a Christmas tea. The strings will play featured ensemble music in addition to the Sanctuary Choir’s Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah.” Information: Carole Eckert, 618-235-3876 or the church, 618-233-6375.

▪ Hearts and Hands Holiday Dinner’ — 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday. Piasa Armory, 3685 E. Broadway, Alton. Open to the public. This event is to provide a hot holiday meal to the less fortunate in Alton and surrounding communities. Hosted by the U.S. Veterans Foundation. or Jason Thompson, 618-974-1278.

▪ ‘The Nutcracker’ —7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Hettenhausen Center, McKendree University. State Street Dance Company and the Hett present “The Nutcracker” featuring local dance talent and principals from leading professional companies. Admission $20 adults and seniors, $10 for students and children, free for McKendree University students.

▪ Millstadt Community Choir: Christmas concert — 7 p.m. Sunday. Zion Evangelical Church, 117 W. White St., Millstadt. 618-660-5790.

▪ Christmas Bake Sale — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Holy Dormition Orthodox Parish, 300 N. 4th St., Benld. Variety of choices: Russian pastries, frozen perogies and stuffed crepes. Nut, poppy seed and apricot rolls and more. Preorder: Sandy Petty 217-204-7938 or 217-839-7220.

▪ Fine Arts Christmas Concert — 3 p.m. Sunday. St. Paul United Church of Christ, 115 West B St., Belleville. Program directed by Tristan Frampton and accompanied by Janet Spencer. Includes holiday selections by the Chancel Choir, “B Street” Band and Glory Ringers. Free will offering. 618-233-3303 or

▪ Annual Christmas Cookie and Sweet Goods sale — 10 a.m. Saturday. Pentecostals of Troy, 8965 Route 162, Troy. No phone orders or early orders accepted.

▪ Heartland Community Chorus Christmas concert — 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Trenton United Methodist Church, 3324 Old U.S. Highway 50, Trenton and 3 p.m. Sunday, St. Paul Catholic Church, 1412 9th St., Highland. Concert will feature members of the St. Paul Christmas Brass Choir as special guests. Tickets cost $15 and children are free. Buy tickets at FCB Bank, 111 Walnut St., Highland. Information:

▪ SNIP Alliance and Riverbend Pet Food Pantry’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party and Contest — 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. Bottle and Barrel Bar, 554 E. Broadway, Alton. $10 entry fee. Ugly sweater judging and 50/50 drawing at 8 p.m. There will be 9 ugly sweaters for sale at the door for $10 each. For more information, see the SNIP Alliance Facebook page.

▪ ‘Wreaths Across America’ — 11 a.m. Saturday. National Cemetery, 600 Pearl St., Alton. National program to honor those who serve and to teach children the value of freedom. All 530 veterans graves in the Alton National Cemetery will be decorated with balsam wreaths. Information: 618-474-2005.

▪ Square and Round Dance — 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday. Caseyville Township Building, 10001 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights. Theme: Christmas Dance. Sponsored by Dandy Dancers. Kate Garrison calling. The Tevlins cueing. Information: Eunice Peterson, 618-660-6030.

▪ Bethalto Christmas Village — 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Bethalto Central Park, 213 N. Prairie St., Bethalto. Event features lightened Christmas-themed cottages, live music, food, Santa Claus, holiday vendors and crafters, live nativity scene and more. Free admission. This is the last weekend for the Christmas Village event. 618-377-8051.

▪ Tom Qualls Foundation for People and Animals: Christmas donation event — Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday. 204 John St., Collinsville. Celebrate Christmas with the Wishing Well Ministry Outreach. Collecting donations for area animals in need: U.S. flags, food items, fruits, blankets, dog and cat food, hay, tarps, dog houses, kennels and monetary donations.

Christmas light displays

▪ Way of Lights — 5-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday until Jan. 1, 2018. The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, 442 S. De Mazenod Drive, Belleville. Cost: Free. Donations accepted. Information:

▪ Winter Wonderland — 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday. 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday until Dec. 30. Horner Recreational Park, 11113 Widicus Road, Lebanon. Cost: Free. Donations accepted. Information:

▪ Christmas Wonderland — 6-9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5-9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday until Dec. 27. Rock Spring Park, Alton. Cost: $7 per car. Information: 800-258-6645 or

▪ Christmas in Carlyle — Dusk daily. City Park, Carlyle. Free display. Information:

▪ Magic of Lights — Open daily: dusk–10 p.m until Jan. 1, 2018. Gateway Motorsports Park, 700 Raceway Blvd., Madison. Cost: $25 per car at gate. Information:

▪ Coulterville 15th Annual Holiday Light Display — Open every night until Dec. 26. Coulterville City Park, Coulterville. No cost to see the lights. Bonfire and free refreshments, Santa, children activities, Christmas music.

▪ Wild Lights — Select nights from 5:30-8:30 p.m. until Dec. 30. See website for details. Saint Louis Zoo, Forest Park, St. Louis. $7-$10 depending on the night you go and if you’re a zoo member. Information: or 314-781-0900.

▪ Brewery Lights — Walking tours 5-10 p.m. every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday except Christmas Eve and Christmas until Jan. 1, 2018. Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 1200 Lynch St., St. Louis. Cost varies. Information: 314-577-2626 or

▪ Winter Wonderland — Open for cars and carriage rides 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday-Friday. Saturdays reserved for carriage rides only. Closed Christmas Eve. Tilles Park, 9551 Litzinger Road, St. Louis. $10 per car. Carriage ride costs vary. No credit or debit cards accepted. Information:

▪ Garden Glow — 5–10 p.m. daily until Jan. 1, 2018. Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas. Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis. Prices vary. Information: or 314-577-5100.


▪ Ballroom Dance — 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Belleville and Swansea Moose Lodge, 2425 N. Illinois St. Music by “The Renditions.”

▪ Book signing by local author — 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Barnes and Noble, 6510 N. Illinois St., Fairview Heights. Rob Nunn, of Edwardsville, will sign copies of his new book, “The Criminal Mastermind of Baker Street.” It is a re-imagining of the Sherlock Holmes stories where Holmes is not London’s great detective, but the mastermind behind the greatest criminal empire in London instead.

▪ Dupo Community Blood Drive — 3 to 7 p.m. Friday. 200 S. 5th St., Dupo. Bring a valid photo identification. For information or appointments:, sponsor code: DupoComm or call 800-733-2767.

▪ ‘The Shoe’: premiere — Two showings each day: 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Museum of Mid-Century Modern Architecture, 8501 W. Main St., Belleville. “The Shoe” was locally produced in Belleville. Order your tickets online at Pick up tickets at the door. Question and answer session following the viewing with Dan Steadman, producer and director.

▪ Train Show: Metro-east Model Railroad Club open house — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. 180 Summit St., Glen Carbon. Visitors welcome to view the model railroad display. Admission is free. Information: 618-476-9228 or 618-254-6596.

Club News

▪ Parents Without Partners — Orientation 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Meeting 6:30 p.m. Bandana’s Restaurant, 4608 N. Illinois St., Fairview Heights. Orientation for new members with monthly meeting following. Information: 618-234-5937.

▪ PSOP book club — 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14. Papa Vito’s on Washington Ave., Belleville. Book title: “A Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. Discussion leader: Peggy Malec.


▪ Aviston Legion Fish & Chicken Fry — 4:30-7 p.m. Friday. American Legion Post 1239, 601 S. Clinton, Aviston. Cod, catfish, shrimp, chicken strips, sides. Eat in or carryout. 618-228-7311 or

▪ Caseyville Fish Fry — 4-7 p.m. Friday, Caseyville VFW Post 1117, 415 N. Long, Caseyville. Fish plates, desserts, sandwiches, burgers and more. Bingo at 7 p.m.

▪ Collinsville Fish Fry — 3-8 p.m. Friday, Collinsville VFW Post 5691, 1234 Vandalia, Collinsville. Eat-in or carryout. Cod, catfish fillets, tilapia, sides.

▪ Collinsville Fish Fry — 3-8 p.m. Friday, Collinsville American Legion, 1022 Vandalia St., Collinsville. North Atlantic cod, whole catfish, sides, desserts. 618-345-2508.

▪ Collinsville Fish Fry — 4-7:30 p.m. Friday. Knights of Columbus Hall, 1 Columbus Plaza, Collinsville. Eat in or carryout. Fried/baked cod, catfish, sides. 618-345-1492.

▪ Freedom Farm Fish Fry Fridays — 4-8 p.m. Friday. Freedom Farm, 6355 Hilgard Memorial Drive, Freeburg. Due to popular demand, fish frys are back every Friday. 618-539-6095 or

▪ Highland Fish Fry — 4-7:30 p.m. Friday, VFW Post 5694, 1900 VFW Road, Highland. Eat in or carryout. 618-654-6367.

▪ Mascoutah Fish Fry — 5-8 p.m. Friday, Mascoutah VFW Post 7682, 620 Donaphan St., Mascoutah. Dine in or carryout. 618-566-2288.

▪ Millstadt Fish Fry and Jam Session — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 4-8 p.m. Friday, Millstadt VFW Post, 200 Veterans Drive, Millstadt. 618-476-1180.

▪ O’Fallon Fish Fry — 4-8 p.m. Friday, Knights of Columbus Hall, 402 E. U.S. 50, O’Fallon. Cod and bluegill, burgers, hot dogs, sides. Eat in or carryout. 618-632-6229.

▪ O’Fallon Fish Fry — 4-8 p.m. Friday, VFW Post 805, 221 W. First St., O’Fallon. Fried and grilled fish, chicken, sides and desserts. Carryouts. 618-624-2651.

▪ Okawville Fish & Chicken Fry — 5-8 p.m. Friday, 205 N. Hanover St., Okawville. American Legion Post No. 233. Eat in or carryout. 618-243-6545.

▪ Shiloh Fish Fry — 5-8 p.m. Friday, 100 Eagle Drive, Shiloh. Cod, walleye, shrimp, chicken wings. Eat in or carryout. Auxiliary bake sale for charity. 618-624-5412.

▪ Swansea Fish Stand — 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 216 Service St., Swansea. Cod, walleye, catfish, shrimp and more. Saturday: fried chicken. 618-222-7171.

▪ Troy VFW Fish Fry — 4-7 p.m. Friday, Troy VFW Post 976 and Auxiliary, 123-A W. Market St., Troy. Cod, catfish, jack salmon, baked fish, chicken strips, shrimp. Dine in or carry out. 618-667-8387.

▪ Walton’s Chicken Dinner — 4-7 p.m. Tuesday. Knights of Columbus, 5420 Old Collinsville Road, Fairview Heights. Homemade desserts. Carryout, 618-632-5222.

▪ Walton’s Fish Fry — 3-8 p.m. Friday, Knights of Columbus, Hall, 5420 Old Collinsville Road, Fairview Heights. Homemade desserts. Carryout, 618-632-5222.


Dec. '17 Baby Quilt
Mary Jane Fuhler, left, of St. Rose and Betty Richter, right, of Aviston display the “Baby Love” quilt. It is one of two quilts in the St. Joseph’s Hospital auxiliary quilt raffle on Thursday, Dec. 21. Provided

▪ Auxiliary quilt raffle — Thursday, Dec. 21. St. Joseph’s Hospital, 9515 Holy Cross Lane, Breese. Tickets for the winter quilt raffle are on sale now at the hospital gift shop for $1 each or six for $5. Both quilts are usually on display across from the gift shop. Information: 618-526-5351 or

▪ Bridge — 11:45 a.m. Thursday. Collinsville Senior Center, 420 E. Main St., Collinsville. To participate, must have played bridge before. 618-310-1289.

▪ Bridge — 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. Senior Center, 10025 Bunkum Road, Fairview Heights. Sponsored by Caseyville Township. 618-310-1289.

▪ Bunco — 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20. Main Street Community Center, 1003 N. Main St., Edwardsville. Beginners are welcome. Mary Jo Smith of Hospice of Southern Illinois is sponsoring this event. Information: or call the Community Center, 618-656-0300.

▪ Cribbage Club — 6:30 p.m. Thursday. 1 Columbus Plaza, KC Club, Collinsville. Nine games played against nine different opponents. Yvonne Bright 618-344-1521 or John Bilski 618-398-1029.

▪ Euchre Tournament — 7 p.m. Friday. Partner night. Smithton Senior Center, 711 S. Main, Smithton. 618-233-3370.


▪ Cactus Moon Band — 8 p.m. to midnight Friday. 216 Service St., Swansea. Free admission to a country music dance sponsored by the Swansea Improvement Association.

▪ Dinner and Two Live Music Shows — Dinner 6:30 p.m. Show 7:30 p.m. Saturday. World Shooting Complex, 1 Main Event Lane, Sparta. Showing “The Whitney Houston Experience” and “The Lionel Richie Experience.” Dinner show $40, show only $20. Advance tickets necessary for dinner. Call 618-965-3726 or go online, Part of proceeds from show go to the Sparta Rotary Club.

Worth the Drive

▪ Southern Illinois Pagan Alliance: Yule ritual — 6 p.m. Saturday. Gaia House Interfaith Center, 913 S. Illinois Ave., Carbondale. Free and open to the public, all are welcome. After ritual at 7 p.m., there will be a gift exchange. Potluck to follow. This event also features a raffle. Information: Tara Nelsen, 618-924-0263 or