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ST. LOUIS – The Piazza Imo On the Hill welcomed people of all ages Saturday ahead of its special tree lighting Saturday night for an “Old World Christmas.” 

“This year we’ve had Mrs. Claus on hayride going around the neighborhood and kept the Santa Claus and for the fourth year in a row we have prancer with us a live reindeer,” Cathy Ruggeri-Rae said, who is on the Piazza Imo committee.

Each year, the display has grown and Ruggeri-Rae says it truly is one of a kind. 

“There is no other. It most resembles the ones that are in Italy that you see when you come out of church. Here in the United States, I’ve not heard of another that replicates what a piazza is all about,” she said. 

Piazza Imo chair member Bill Frisella likes what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short amount of time. 

“This is our third year, so it’s really kind of become a thing especially on The Hill and really for all of St. Louis. I think this is really going to be important for the hill area in the future and for all of St. Louis because it’s quite an asset to our community I believe,” he said. 

Ten-year-old Thomas Kerby was glad to be out on a busy day filled with family activities that included a stop at the Piazza Imo. 

“We went to the public warehouse. We also went to the transportation museum and we’re going to do an errand at Target later,” he said.
Kerby’s grandparents were visiting from Canada for the holiday weekend. He was only able to Facetime with them because of the pandemic last year. For him, there’s no such thing as too much family time. 

“I mean their family and it’s important to see your family,” Kerby said. 

Ruggeri-Rae says family is what it’s all about during the holiday season. 

“It’s The Hill, they’re Italian. It’s all about family so this is what we’re trying to keep going,” she said.