Looking to get out and enjoy some time before the chaos of the holiday season strikes? Check out these events in southeast Missouri.

Friday, Dec. 1: Tree Lighting, Salem Chamber Choir and Santa at Echo Bluff State Park Kick off the holiday season with the annual tree lighting and Salem Chamber Choir performance at Echo Bluff State Park! Come listen to the choir’s heavenly music fill the lodge lobby’s rafters as they perform traditional and international Christmas carols. The choir will perform following the lighting of the tree. There’s a rumor that Santa will make an appearance! Cookies and cocoa will be available. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. at 35244 Echo Bluff Drive in Eminence.

Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9: Christmas Candlelight Open House at Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site The public is invited to enjoy an 1860s Victorian Christmas during a candlelight open house of the Hunter-Dawson Home. The house, aglow with the warmth of oil lamps and candles, will be decorated with fresh greenery, Christmas trees and 1860s–style ornaments. Site team members will be dressed in period clothing and will be present to answer questions. Refreshments will be available. The candlelight open house will be from 5:30–8:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9, while standard daytime tours will be given from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event is open to the public and reservations are not required. However, there are fees for the daytime tours. Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site is located at 312 Dawson Road in New Madrid.

Saturday Dec. 9 or Sunday, Dec. 10: Baking Wild at Current River State Park It’s the holiday season and that means baking and candy making! We all run out to the store for those last-minute items, but have you thought about going out into the woods to collect your own nuts and berries for holiday baking? Learn how to bake using foraged items. This program starts at 10 a.m. at the Shannondale Fire Tower. Space is limited and registration is required. Contact Connie Weber at connie.weber@dnr.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-1224 and let her know which day you prefer. Participants should plan to bring a lunch. Current River State Park is located at 11053 County Road 19D in Salem.

For detailed information on any of these activities, please visit mostateparks.com/events. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Decorated Christmas tree in the corner of room near fireplace with portrait of a gentleman dressed in a military uniform hangs above the mantle

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