The month of November serves as the kick-off month to Natchitoches’ famous Festival of Lights season, and several new features have been added to this year’s festivities. The City of Natchitoches and Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce jointly announced that Hollywood Records Recording Artist and rising Disney Star Anna Margaret will serve as the grand marshal of this year’s Christmas Festival Parade.
Anna Margaret is the youngest person to ever reign over the Natchitoches Christmas Festival Parade. In less than a year, this Alexandria, Louisiana native has become one of the bright lights among emerging teen stars with hit tracks including “Something About the Sunshine” off the Disney Channel’s original movie Starstruck and the title track “Girl Thing” from the Disney Channel original movie Den Brother. This 14-year-old singer’s video “Something About the Sunshine” has already had over 1.5 million hits on YouTube.
Anna Margaret will not only serve as this year’s grand marshal, but she will also perform on the downtown riverbank stage during the Christmas Festival on Saturday, December 4th, which is celebrating its 84th anniversary this year.
The City and Chamber of Commerce also announced that Alexandria native Taylor Mathews will also appear in the Natchitoches Christmas Festival Parade on December 4th as well as perform on the downtown riverbank stage. Mathews was a finalist on the NBC television show America’s Got Talent.
Natchitoches’ Festival of Lights celebration officially begins on Saturday, November 20th with “Turn on the Holidays.” The event will feature an entire day of free family entertainment, the official turning on of hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, live musical entertainment and a spectacular fireworks show.
Events in downtown Natchitoches begin at noon on November 20th with a variety of children’s activities. A children’s activity tent with storyteller Dee Scallan, author of the Crawfish Tales book series will be open from 12:00noon to 4:00pm. Children will have the opportunity to visit with Ollie the Oyster via a talking drawing board, enjoy performances with Moby Pincher, the crawfish puppet and view shows with the Moby Animatronics Theater. They will also make oyster shell ornaments and Ollie the Oyster hats to take home. Children will also help decorate a Christmas tree with native Louisiana materials just like the tree in the book “Moby Pincher’s Wonderful Christmas Present”.
Children can also enjoy face painting, inflatable activities, Christmas ornament painting in with the Natchitoches Art Guild and Gallery, Creole doll making with the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the Natchitoches Parish Library Bookmobile. Musical entertainment includes Celtic and folk music by The Back Porch Band from 12:00noon to 3:00pm and a “barbershop style” holiday concert by River Cities Jubilee Chorus at 3:00pm. That evening, the headliner, Dixie Traditions, will perform from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
The evening will be capped off with the official lighting ceremony at 6:30pm on the downtown riverbank stage immediately followed by a fireworks show over Cane River Lake. These events are all free to the public. Sponsorship for these events was made possible by grants from the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission and the Office of the Lt. Governor, Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism and the National Park Service Preserve America.
In conjunction with the November 20th kick-off, downtown merchants will sponsor their annual Holiday Open House, showcasing their holiday merchandise including home décor, books, clothing, collectibles and various gift items.
For those in the area during the Thanksgiving holidays, plan to visit Natchitoches to attend the first-ever “Snow Fest.” Visitors will be able to experience Frosty’s Avalanche Slide by tubing down 110 feet of winter fun on the downtown riverbank. The snow will be open on Friday, November 26th from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, and Saturday, November 27th from 10:00am to 7:00pm. Only those 42 inches and taller will be allowed to ride. Admission will be charged. There will be musical entertainment that evening provided by the Drew Danzy Band from 5:30pm to 8:30pm as well as a fireworks show over Cane River Lake at 7:00pm.
For more information about “Turn on the Holidays”, Natchitoches’ Snow Fest or the Festival of Lights, please call the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714, or visit www.christmasfestival.com.