Snow doesn’t bury holiday spirit in Chester, IL

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CHESTER, IL (KTVI) -People were still “snowed in” in Chester, IL, Saturday.  Chester, about 65 miles south of St. Louis, known as the birthplace of cartoon/comic book character, “Popeye”, got about 14 inches of snow Thursday-Friday.  The snow wiped out most of what was supposed to be a big holiday weekend there.

“Southern Illinois is not supposed to have this kind of weather in early December,” said a man shoveling snow outside of St. John’s Lutheran Church.

All the snow made for small town scenes fit for a holiday post card. But those scenes belied the reality of digging out of 14 inches of snow in below zero wind chills.

“Right now it’s pretty tough,” said that Saturday morning shoveler.

It was tougher than it had ever been to pull off the 41st annual St. John’s Lutheran Christmas bazaar.

“I have some awesome parents who worked really hard to make this happen, who don’t say ‘No’, who don’t say, ‘I can’t’,” said school principal, Brenda Owen.

People were determined to hold onto at least 1 piece of the big weekend.

“It turned over to snow about 5 o’clock Thursday evening.  It snowed all evening through the night until 4 o’clock (PM) yesterday,” said Randolph County resident, Denise Ebers.

She said she’d just “dug out” Saturday to go to the bazaar.

All the other events were cancelled.

“We have a big lighted parade, Santa comes down the river on a barge.  He comes at the riverfront all of the kids greet him and meet Santa.  There’s a Christmas concert.  All of that’s been cancelled,” said Valeria Blechle, who also made it to the bazaar.

“If Popeye’s got that “can-do” attitude, we’ve got it too,” Owen smiled.

They were certainly “strong to the finish” at the bazaar, even without spinach.

It was too soon to tell whether Chester area schools would resume, Monday.   The snow forced early dismissal Thursday and the cancellation of school Friday.

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