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Festival of the Little Hills

Annual Festival a Favorite for Crafts and Music on the St. Charles Riverfront

By Deborah O'Brien

The Festival of the Little Hills, in historic St. Charles, is one of the St. Louis region's favorite summer festivals. Each year, more than 200,000 visitors brave the August heat and head to Frontier Park and historic Main Street St. Charles.

The three day festival is held the third weekend in August and is known for unique fair food, live music and hundreds of craft booths. If you haven't been before, this is the year to check out the Festival of the Little Hills.

Time and Place

Friday, August 16, 2013 - 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The festival grounds are along the 100 to 800 blocks of Main Street and throughout Frontier Park. For a detailed map, visit the festival's website. Admission is free.

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

One of the biggest draws of the festival is the craft booths. More than 300 vendors from 30 states set up shop along Main Street and in Frontier Park. You can find items to fit every style and budget, including handmade children's clothes and toys, sculpture, art, wreaths, jewelry, specialty foods and more. Many of the vendors come back year after year, but there are also new booths, so you'll always see something you haven't seen before. And of course, most of the regular shops along Main Street are also open during the festival for even more shopping. It's often nice to step into an air-conditioned shop after a few hours in the August heat!

Getting a Bite to Eat

When all that shopping makes you hungry, you don't have to go far to find something good to eat. The food stands are mixed in with the craft booths so there's always something nearby. You can find traditional fair food like hamburgers, hotdogs, brats, kettle corn and funnel cakes, but save room for the homemade potato chips and homemade ice cream. The lines are often long at those booths, but they're certainly worth the wait. For those who want a sit down meal, there are many great restaurants along or near Main Street. Try Little Hills Winery, Lewis & Clark's or the Trailhead Brewing Company when you want to take a break and get out of the heat.

Music & Entertainment

You'll hear many different kinds of music as you stroll through the festival grounds, everything from Native American flutes to portable organs. There are also magicians, balloon artists and other street performers showing off their skills to the thousands of festival-goers. And, don't forget the free concerts both Friday and Saturday evening. Bring a folding chair or blanket and stake out a spot around the Main Stage in Frontier Park.

Just For the Kids

Organizers haven't forgotten about all the children who tag along to the festival. There's a special "Kids Corner" for those 12 and younger. Children can work on arts and crafts, enjoy free soda or cool off under a giant water hose. Clowns, magicians and storytellers also help entertain the younger visitors. The Kids Corner is located in Frontier Park near Gate 4 and the Main Stage.

Where to Park

There are public parking lots all along Riverside Drive right across from Frontier Park, but keep in mind you are competing with thousands of other people to get those spots. If luck is on your side, you might find a place to park, but a better option is to take advantage of the free shuttle service. The shuttles begin running when the festival opens each day and usually stop one hour after the festival closes. There are shuttle pickup locations at Duchesne High School, St. Charles West High School and two other locations. There is no parking at the Family Arena this year. For more information, see the shuttle schedule.

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