Metro-East News

Five Things To Do: Enjoy the long weekend with trains, parades — and wassail?

Not that you’d want to ever leave the table and home filled with family togetherness, but ... you need to get out. Take someone along, if you want, any of these activities is fine solo or with the troops.


As in “chugga-chugga-choo-choo” of course. What were you thinking?

The Great Train Show opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and rolls around and around until 4 p.m. both days at the Gateway Center in Collinsville. They promise more than 350 tables of trains and more than 60 exhibitors. There’s a riding train for all ages, a Lego layout (also for all ages, they can’t stop me from looking), workshops, door prizes and more. Admission is $8, children age 11 and under get in free.


▪  The Great Ladies of Waterloo, with members in St. Clair, Randolph and Monroe counties, expects nearly 40 participants, including lighted carriages, a team of Clydesdales and live nativity scenes starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. There’s a chili supper after the parade. On Saturday and Sunday head to the courthouse bandstand and City Hall area for shops and carriage rides starting at noon. For more information, go to

▪  Breese Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and finishes up at North Park with fireworks and a Santa sighting.

▪  O’Fallon’s Illuminated Christmas Parade starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, starting at East 5th Street and ending at Oak and West First streets. Santa will be in his hut after the parade.

To market, two market...

▪  Belleville’s Christkindelmarkt offers 30 vendors with items from around the world. The hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; they’ll also be open through Dec. 23 in downtown Belleville. On Saturday, enjoy free entertainment in a heated tent.

▪  The Native American Market will have more than 25 Native Americans selling their arts and crafts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville. The crafts include baskets and beadwork, pottery and paintings. The center suggests donations of $7 adults, $5 seniors and $2 students, or $15 for families.

Step into history

▪  Wassail, you say? Yes, wassail served hot in the kitchen of the Col. Benjamin Stephenson House at 409 S. Buchanan St. in Edwardsville from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. You can also get your 1820s fix with carols in the parlor, dancing in the dining room and stories all over. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for those 5 and under. Call 618-692-1818 for more information.

▪  Step a little further back in time at Fort de Chartres 1350 Illinois 155, 4 miles west of Prairie du Rocher, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. See what the traveling experience was like for those making their way from visiting New Orleans to home in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. back in the 1700s. Those travelers may have taken shelter at the Fort, and this weekend the Fort folks will roast turkey and make other dishes popular in that time and place for the modern family to try. (For ideas of what recipes may have been like, try the Colonial Williamsburg website, including “Eggs President Fashion” which is eggs poached, then breaded and fried. Huh.)

Get outside

Yes, it’ll be chilly and rainy on Saturday morning, but let’s not let that stop us from the once-a-month Discovery Day at the Watershed Nature Center with the center’s educators. The center at 1591 Tower Avenue in Edwardsville offers guided tours from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday and will have indoor and outdoor activities. Admission is free. Call 618-692-7578 or e-mail for more information.