Metro-East News

Five things to do: Who do we appreciate? Santa and cheerleaders

All right folks, it’s that once-a-year-weekend when yours truly finally recognizes the Christmas cheer all about us, and concedes to include Santa sightings and caroling. (Not to overlook our non-Christmas-celebrating friends, of course. It’s not all Christmas-related.)

Winter revelry

▪  It’s the last weekend for the Belleville Christkindlmarkt, and Prancer and Sven (the reindeer, of course) will be around each day for visits at the Public Square in Belleville. The German-inspired market and Santa’s house will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Go to for more information and the hours through Dec. 23.

▪ The Wildey Theatre is screening “White Christmas” at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets, which include a goodie bag with special props, are $15 general admission; $10 seniors and students under 18.

Go, team, go

More than 40 teams will be at the Illinois Cheerleading Coaches Association’s contest at Edwardsville High School, starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, some of whom are still vying for a spot at the state championship in January.

Shanna Combes, head coach for Edwardsville High School, 6161 Center Grove Road, said the teams are judged on stunts, jumps and overall showmanship, among other marks.

“There’s a lot of music, there’s a new routine that takes the floor every five minutes,” she said. Because this is the last weekend to qualify for that state championship, and there is another qualifying round in Mount Vernon the day before. Teams that don’t qualify there may call her up Saturday night so they can try again Sunday.

Local teams scheduled to compete include Granite City, O’Fallon and Belleville West. Edwardsville will be sharing a routine, too, although they’ve already qualified in previous contests.

“This is kind of a relaxing one for us,” she said.

Santa sightings

▪  Downtown Edwardsville has carolers, sidewalk sales, crafters, Santa, elves and more through Wednesday.

▪  Santa will be in residence at the square in downtown Highland from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

▪  Santa in Swansea will be around from 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Mel Price Park at 200 Caseyville Ave. Photos cost $5.

▪  Santa in Columbia will be at the Monroe County Welcome Center from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

▪  The Power of One project has a new spin on free photos with Santa — they’re also handing out free coats, gloves, scarves hats and socks, along with free soup, coffee and hot cocoa. It’s happening from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Fairview Memorial VFW Post 8677, 5825 N. Illinois St., Fairview Heights.

Star Wars fun

There’s promised fun in a galaxy far, far away (the children’s floor at the Collinsville Memorial Library Center) at 3 p.m. Saturday. Costumes are encouraged, and children can make Star Wars-themed crafts, hear space stories and undergo Jedi training. Register in advance at 618-344-1112, or online at It’s free.

Early morn Solstice

Every six months or so, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site has this pretty nifty live demonstration of the winter and summer solstices. (Hint: This weekend is the Winter Solstice.) The sun plays a rather large part in it.

It’s early, but they’ll again have an archaeologist on site at 7 a.m. Sunday to explain the form and function of Woodhenge while onlookers await the coming of the dawn on the shortest day of the year. Bring your own coffee.

Woodhenge is about a mile west of the Interpretive Center on Collinsville Road in Collinsville.