Holiday displays, festivities abound across the Metro-East region

Chronicle Media

Christmas Wonderland at Rock Spring Park. (Photo courtesy: Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau

Christmas Wonderland at Rock Spring Park. (Photo courtesy: Alton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau

Again this year Metro-East is home to some of the St. Louis region’s best, most unique, and ,in the case of residential displays, sometimes controversial holidays displays and festivities.

Drive-through light displays

The Rock Spring Park Christmas Wonderland in Alton uses more than three million lights to create cascading waterfalls, lighted trees and hundreds of displays. Santa in available in the Enchanted Forest through Christmas Eve. Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered, weather permitting, Saturdays on a first-come basis and other days by reservation.Call Black Tie Carriage at (217) 242-1104. Hours: Monday-Friday, 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday, 5 p.m.- 9 p.m. Admission: $7 for cars and small vans; $1 per person for 10-plus passenger vehicles. Carriage fares: $30 for the first person, $5 for each additional person, regardless of age. Open through Dec. 27 (

The Winter Wonderland in Lebanon’s Horner Park, described by its all-volunteer staff as an “old fashioned” holiday display with a with a bit of “tomorrow,” features “The Blinky Show!,” which is “nothing like you’ve seen before,” according to the event website. Other displays include a salute dedicated to the military, a Victorian village, polar bears, deer and of course, Santa’s workshop. The Lebanon Winter Wonderland may be closed in the event if severe weather due to the potential for ice formation on a step hill in the park. Open:  Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Fridays – Saturdays, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., through Dec. 31. Horner Park is located at 11113 Widicus Road. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. (

The Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, generally considered the region’s premier holiday lights display, features one million lights along the roads, plus a tree room, wreath displays, an interactive children’s village, donkey and camel rides, a petting zoo and more.  Open 5 p.m. through Jan. 1. The shrine is located off IL. Rt. 15 at 442 South DeMazendo Drive. Admission is free but donations are accepted. ( or (618) 397-6700)

Residential displays

The MnM Christmas Display, 605 Christopher Lane, New Baden, features a computerize display of more than 20,000 lights a video screen, computer synchronized, using a 64-channel control system, with an 18-song audio track. Viewers can select (or vote for, should multiple viewers be present) the next song in the play list, through their mobile devices at Donations are accepted at the display for the Fontebella Maternity Home in O’Fallon.

That Holiday House, 1463 Martin Drive, in Troy offers several 35-45 minutes shows, utilizing over 40,000 LED lights, connected with more than 100 extension cords and more than 750 control channels . Hours: daily 4:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.; show times: 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m, 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. Shows run 35 to 45 minutes. (

“The Magic Of Christmas” is the theme this year for the Troy Toyland, a neighborhood display spanning six yards in the 100 block of Pebblebrook Lane. The multi-home display utilizes more than  40,000 LED lights, 250, and more than 500 control channels. A soundtrack is broadcast via low-power radio signal at 96.1 FM. Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.;  Fridays – Saturdays, 6 p.m.-11 p.m. Several shows are presented each evening, averaging around 30 minutes in length. (

Viewers of residential displays are urged not to park blocking driveways, keep music in their cars at a moderate volume, and generally be respectful of the surrounding neighborhood.

Other events

The Gingerbread House Workshop, at Eckert’s County Store, 951 South Green Mount Road, Belleville, provides all supplies and guidance needed to create a gingerbread house for holiday display. Workshops are 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Nov 28-29, Dec 5-6, 12-13,  19-20.  Cost: $14 per gingerbread house. (

The Maeystown Old Fashioned German Christmas Festival , Dec 6, offers music (including a German Carole sing), food such as Weihnatch stew, carriage rides, shopping at a Christkindlmarkt, visits with Sankt Nikolaus. and a Weihbachtshaustour  or Christmas house tour. (Tickets: $5).  ( or (618) 458-6660)

The Millstadt Weihnachtfest (German Christmas Festival), Dec. 6, features a craft fair features holiday decorations, jewelry, gifts, and German food (sauerbraten, bratwurst, potato pancakes, red cabbage, and strudel).  The Cookie Walk features homemade Christmas cookies. St. Nikolaus arrives in a morning parade at the St. James Parish Center.  Free. (

–Holiday displays, festivities abound across the Metro-East region–