November is a busy month for the neighboring cities of the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights as they prepare for the holiday season.
“We work for months planning these events. There are a lot of hours and behind-the-scenes work to make these events happen,” says Samantha Bonnette, organizer for Natchitoches’ Turn on the Holidays event. “Watching the fireworks and faces of the people in the crowds enjoying the holiday festivities, lets you know that all of the hard work was well worth it. To know that you were a part of creating a magical experience that people will cherish with their families and remember for their lifetime is the most rewarding part of it all.”
Although the cities work together to create the Trail experience, they each have their own individual headliner events.
Here are a few November holiday happenings:
Alexandria-Pineville - Red River Dance Theatre Company is performing its annual presentation of The Nutcracker Ballet at the Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. Come watch as Hoffmann’s classic story of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is brought to life with swirling snow and sword-fighting mice! Show times include 7 p.m., Nov. 26 and 2 p.m., Nov. 27. Tickets are available here
Minden - On Nov. 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Minden is getting a jumpstart on the holidays with their annual Fifth Season Fasching Celebration. This event features a full German holiday experience of German food, live music, clowns, face painting, arts, crafts, and a carnival. Kids will have the opportunity to take pictures with Weihanchatsmann (Santa Claus). After a long day of fun and entertainment, be sure to stay for the grand firework display at dusk.
Monroe-West Monroe - Santa Claus is coming to town for Santa’s Christmas Village hosted at the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum in Monroe. This holiday wonderland features fun activities like ice skating, making ornaments, decorating cookies, rides down Mount Sneaux, and much more. Each Thursday from 5-8 p.m., there will be a photo booth to take holiday pictures. Of course, there will be plenty of opportunities to visit with Santa. It kicks off on Nov. 19 and will be open every Thursday through Sunday until Dec. 23. Times are as follows: Thursday-Friday- 5-8 p.m.; Saturday- 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sunday- 1-6 p.m.
Natchitoches – The City of Lights is preparing to illuminate the streets with their Turn on the Holidays event on Nov. 19. This event will kick off the beloved 90th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Lights Festival. Festivities will include live performances from a local talent showcase and music entertainment by local favorites Trace & D’Nissa and the NOLA Dukes Band. Join Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles as they flip the switch to light up the town followed by a spectacular firework display. It all takes place at the Natchitoches downtown riverbank from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Shreveport-Bossier – Rockets Over the Red Fireworks Festival is back and bigger than ever this year. For the first time ever, the event will expand to both sides of the Red River, unifying Shreveport and Bossier for one big firework extravaganza. There will be a tree on both sides of the river, each lit in unison to signal the beginning of the firework display. The display can be viewed from Riverview Park in Shreveport and along the Riverfront Promenade at Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets in Bossier. The first 500 kids at both locations will get a free gift. It all takes place on Nov. 26 from 3-7:30 p.m.
About Charli Stanley
Charli is a current resident of Natchitoches where she attends Northwestern State University. She serves as the communications intern for the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights.