92 Years of Christmas Magic!

With over 300,000 lights & 100 lighted set pieces, Christmas is magical in Natchitoches!

Fireworks illuminated over the Cane River in Natchitoches, Louisiana

There is something special about the Christmas season and no place does it better than Natchitoches, Louisiana!

The store windows are filled with colorful displays hocking their wares in festive packaging. Music plays over the loudspeakers to enchant all within earshot.

And the food! There’s nothing like a piping hot funnel cake covering a paper plate with a mound of powdered sugar reigning over the top like a snow-capped peak. The gator-on-a-stick is steaming hot from the grease but that doesn’t slow down people from eating it anyway. The hot chocolate warms your hands on a cold day, through the styrofoam cup. Christmas in Natchitoches truly is something special!

Natchitoches is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. It’s also home to one of the oldest community-based holiday celebrations in the country.  The city boasts over 300,000 Christmas lights and over 100 set pieces perched along the banks of Cane River Lake.  Events take place in the Landmark Historic District and the Cane River National Historical Park areas.

The Festival started as a one-day celebration and has evolved into a six-week long Christmas Season. This year they celebrate their 92nd Anniversary with  festivities beginning Saturday November 17th with their Holiday Open House. December 1st is the Christmas Festival with fireworks every weekend thereafter until the conclusion of the season on January the 6th, with the Epiphany.

Top 10 Festival Must Do's:

  1. Watch the parade.
  2. Hold a baby alligator.
  3. Eat a funnel cake.
  4. Eat a meat pie.
  5. Shop for crafts.
  6. Visit Kaffie-Frederick.
  7. Watch Wayne Toups play.
  8. Meet Miss Merry Christmas & the Christmas Belles.
  9. Sit on Santa’s lap.
  10. Watch the fireworks.

The festival began as a one-day celebration but has evolved into a six-week long Christmas Season

Festival Schedule

7:45 am

Natchitoches “City of Lights” 5K Run starting at the NSU Campus.

10 am – 6 pm

LA Sports Hall of Fame and Northwestern Louisiana History Museum OPEN with FREE admission.

10 am – 4 pm

Christmas on the Cane at Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS. Celebrate Christmas 18th century style with historians, re-enactors and period merchants. $4 per person over age 12 through 62.

1:00 pm

Festival of Lights Parade

2:45 pm – 4:30 pm

4:30 pm – 6 pm

Wayne Toups on the Downtown Riverbank

6:00 pm

Fireworks over Can River Lake

Can't make it Festival weekend? There are fun activities every weekend until the New Year, including the Santa Claus House and a fireworks show every Saturday evening!

Be sure to check the Festival Schedule for updates and additional events throughout the Christmas Season.

Kids in life jackets watch fireworks over the water
A funnel cake from festival
Young couple shopping at Christmas fair outdoors.
A young boy sits on Santa Claus' lap by a decorated Christmas tree.
*The Santa House is open nightly from 6:00 – 8:30 pm from Sunday, December 4th through December 23rd. No admission charge.

Festival Facts:

  • Over 300,000 lights & 100 set pieces are on display each night beginning at dusk

  • The 92nd Anniversary season begins November 17th, 2018 with their Holiday Open House

  • December 1st is the Christmas Festival

  • Winner of the 2018 Shining Example Award Top Festival of the Year by Southeast Tourism.

  • Top Festival in the State by New Orleans Magazine

  • Festival/Event of the Year by Louisiana Travel Association

  • Listed as a “Top 100 Events in North America” by the American Bus Association for numerous years

  • Honored as one of the “Top 20 Events” for December on six occasions by the Southeast Tourism Society

  • Ranked 3rd “Best Holiday Light Show” behind the Rockefeller Center and Disney World in the nation by Yahoo.com in 2013

  • Fireworks are held every Saturday throughout the Season as well as events for every age

  • The holiday Season ends on January 6th, 2019

If you've been looking for an opportunity to visit the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame or the Northwest History Museum, you're in luck! Both are open with FREE admission on Festival day ONLY.

Located at 800 rue Front Street in Natchitoches, Louisiana

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