Metro-East News

Want some holiday cheer this weekend? Come to an ugly Christmas sweater party

The challenge for your dear Five Things writer today is to see if there are things besides Santa sightings and Christmas events to do this weekend. Just as one sees nothing but red and hears bells in her head, history and illness comes to the rescue. Never fear, there is plenty of holiday cheer for items three, four and five.

Make camp

Before Meriwether Lewis and William Clark could set off on their journey to see what was west of the Mississippi, they had to wait for winter to end. They did so near present-day Hartford, Ill., arriving on Dec. 13, 1803.

This weekend, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency opens the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site near Hartford from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with displays of artifacts, tools and weapons from the era and expedition.

Back in 1803, Clark noted in his journal of “a hard wind all day — flying Clouds.” Modern-day visitors can expect chilly temps and mostly cloudy skies.

Modern-day enthusiasts can also read the famed duo’s journals online at, perhaps noting that although his spelling was lacking by our standards, Clark was by far the more loquacious of the two. Lewis’ writings are almost exclusively astronomical observations, recorded numerically.

For more information, call 618-251-5811. The site is along Illinois Route 3 a few miles north of Interstate 270 in Hartford, Illinois.

Get a shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared National Influenza Vaccination Week, but we’ve nearly missed it. Saturday is the last day of the made-up event to compel us all to get flu shots. Is it working for you?

Online, go to for a list of locations, including pharmacies, that will provide the shot.

The St. Clair County Health Department reminds us that flu outbreak typically peaks between January and March, and the vaccine cannot give you the contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses.

Santa sightings

Some Santa sightings may seem to overlap, making it appear that Santa is in two places at once. That’s just part of his magic, kids.

▪  Edwardsville’s City Park has Santa from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. No charge. City Park is at 101 S. Buchanan.

▪  The Monroe County Welcome Center has Santa visits from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Welcome Center is at 6 Gall Road in Columbia.

▪  O’Fallon has Santa from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Santa’s Hut, at the corner of First and Vine streets.

Holiday at the hill

The Signal Hill Neighborhood Association is hosting Holiday on the Boulevard from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, at Signal Hill School Community Center, 40 Signal Hill Place in Belleville. Admission is free to see more than 30 vendors, including Gateway Pet Guardians with a few pups. They’ll have chili, soups, sandwiches and dessert available for purchase; and take a horse-drawn trolley ride down Signal Hill Boulevard, for $5 a person. For more information, call Barbara Ducey at 618-398-6435.

Ugly sweater party

You can wear your own ugly sweater, or buy an ugly sweater online, at the second attempt at Ballpark Village in St. Louis to smash the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. General admission tickets are $8, tickets with an ugly sweater purchase are $30. Get a special gift for bringing in a canned food, which will go to Operation Food Search.

Go to for more information, including tickets. There will be live music and photo booths at Ballpark Village at 7 p.m. Saturday, as well as contests for prizes. You must be 21 to enter.


Light a candle at 7 p.m. Sunday for an hour, in memory of children around the world and close to home. The Compassionate Friends, which supports families after a child dies, started a Worldwide Candle Lighting in 1997. Candles are lighted at 7 p.m. local time to provide a wave of glow around the globe.