Founded in 1735, Ste. Genevieve has a longer history than most Midwest towns, and a long list of happenings during which to celebrate it. Every summer, the quaint city comes alive with music, food, art and even ghosts from its storied past.
From the citywide Jour de Fete Craft Festival every August to the ghostly Déjà Vu-A Spirit Reunion and Wine Diva events in the fall, there's something to satisfy just about everyone's sense of fun – whether it's a visit from ghosts of the past or a helping of old-fashioned liver dumplings just like Granny used to make.
Sandra Cabot, director of tourism at the Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, says the annual Jour de Fete – held on the fourth weekend every August – is the largest event of the summer in Ste. Gen, drawing as many as 30,000 visitors during a weekend of food, crafts and music.
“It's the Midwest's largest outdoor craft festival,” says Cabot. “We encourage people to visit, in addition to the craft booths, all of our shops and restaurants. We have five historic homes open for tours, and visitors can get a lot of fun information about French Colonial life.”
New on the roster of Ste. Genevieve summer events is the Vive La Musique. “This is a special event this year, but one we hope we can bring back,” Cabot says. “It's a celebration of French music traditions with historic music interpretations. … (Musicians) interpret music as would have been originally done. It's fascinating.
“Even when there's not an event, you can book a weekend at a bed and breakfast, learn French Colonial history, shop antiques, go to the area wineries,” says Cabot. “There's something for everybody.”
Admission to many of the Ste. Genevieve events is free, unless stated otherwise.
Summer Music Festival
through Fri., July 26, 8pm; Orris Theater, 265 Merchant St.
Weeks-long festival wraps up July 26 with blues, gospel and R&B singer Kim Masse. Tickets $13.
Jour de Fete Craft Festival
Sat., Aug. 10, 10am to 4pm; Sun., Aug. 11, 9am to 4pm
More than 100 craft booths, food and beverages, and entertainment that includes live music, car cruise, chicken and liver dumpling dinner, and 5K and 1-mile fun runs. Weekend includes tours of five historic homes, circa late-1700s on. Free shuttles from remote parking to Historic District every 30 minutes.
Fourth Friday Art Walk
Aug. 23, Sept. 27, Oct. 25 and Nov. 22, 6 to 9pm
View the works of local and regional artists in a variety of media in the heart of the Ste. Genevieve Historic District. Local businesses offering extended hours during event.
Vive La Musique at the Bolduc House
Sat., Aug. 24. 10am to 10pm; Bolduc House Museum, 125 S. Main St.
This day-long music presentation includes a variety of music, music history, dance, education and demonstrations that celebrate North American music history. Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Call 573.883.3105 or visit bolduchouse.org for information.
Plein Air Painting
Fri., Sept. 27 to Sun., Oct. 6
Local and regional artists are invited to ply their craft in scenic Ste. Genevieve. Event includes art competitions and “paint-outs” with prizes, as well as social events. Sale of art from the event runs Oct. 4-6. Call 573.883.9199 or visit ArtsSteGen.org for more information.
Rural Heritage Day
Sat., Oct. 26, 9am to 5pm; Creole House Properties, St. Mary's Road.
Relive life in rural Middle America, circa 1850 to 1960, with demonstrations of plowing and tilling, quilting and lace, leather working, blacksmithing, carving, old-fashioned games and treats.
Déjà Vu-A Spirit Reunion
Sat., Oct. 26, 5 to 8pm; Memorial Cemetery, 35 N. Fifth St.
Established in 1787, Memorial Cemetery is the final resting place of the area's earliest pioneers, Native Americans, slaves and freemen alike, as well as victims of a tragic steamboat explosion. This family-friendly program gives an intimate look into the lives of 18th- and 19th-century residents of Missouri's oldest town. Event features lantern-lit tour of the cemetery and face-to-face chats with “ghosts” of the era.
Sat., Nov. 16 to Sun. Nov. 17, 11am to 5pm
Take a trek through six unique wineries on Ste. Gen's historic Route du Vin. Along the way, sample delicious dishes at each stop, each paired perfectly with a distinct, signature wine. Tickets $25 at rdvwinetrail.com/event/wine-diva-weekend.
Ste. Genevieve Welcome Center, 800.373.7007, visitstegen.com