It all began with a star.
The Christmas Festival tradition began in 1927 when employees of the City of Natchitoches’ utility department decided to give their customers a Christmas present. They erected an 8-foot star made of white lights and placed it downtown so everyone could see and enjoy the wonders, not only of the season, but also of electricity.
Over the years, new electrical displays were added. And in 1936, local businessmen added fireworks for the community to enjoy. This was the start of something big – the beginning of one of the nation’s oldest and most spectacular community based Christmas celebrations – the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. This year marks the 95th anniversary for the Christmas Festival.
For the 95th year, there will be more than 100 lighted set piece displays (seen in the photo above) along Cane River Lake. The themes for the displays are indicative of the season, and are also determined by world events. During World War II, a large “V” for victory was included. The giant American Flag, which anchors the northern end of the displays, was built as a tribute to the men and women of Desert Storm and all other veterans. In addition to the set pieces, the City is covered with more than 350,000 colored lights.
The lights come on Saturday, November 20, during the annual "Turn on the Holidays" event following a countdown to the lighting and fireworks. Then the lights will turn on every evening at dusk until January 6, 2022.
In addition to the lights and weekly fireworks shows, the season will include home tours, a 5K run, musical and chorale productions, street and boat parades, live entertainment, shopping, arts and crafts shows, and much, much more!
Find details on events, tickets, FAQs and more at www.NatchitochesChristmas.com!