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November 15 09:11 AM

Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights activities kick off Nov. 16

Visitors can enjoy home tours, fireworks and new Cajun Christmas Festival

Plans are earnestly being made to enjoy the Christmas season all along the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights — Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches and Alexandria/Pineville. Starting Nov. 16 through the New Year, these cities, along I-20 and I-49, are offering home tours, fireworks, parades and millions of twinkling lights to see and enjoy.

Minden starts things off Nov. 16 with its annual Fasching Fifth Season Celebration. Enjoy the city’s German’s roots. There will be food, entertainment, carnival, clowns, local arts and crafts and then close the night with fireworks in downtown Minden. The celebration will continue throughout the season with shopkeepers ready to receive visitors and share Minden's history. Visit the Antiques Trail featuring eight quaint shops and colorful shop owners. Be sure to leave time to visit the Minden City Arts and the Dorcheat Museum. Other tour stops include: "Wrap it Up in Minden," Dec. 7, which offers a full day of activities such as the Minden Historic Tour of Homes, Winter Wonderland Arts and Crafts Show, trolley rides, caroling on Main Street, shop sales and the Christmas parade at dusk.

Next, Shreveport-Bossier kicks its celebrations off with the lighting of the largest Christmas tree in north Louisiana at the Outlets at Louisiana Boardwalk Nov. 21. The Boardwalk is the area’s premier shopping/dining/entertaining area for visitors and locals. The lighting event will feature local bands, light-up necklace for the first 500 kids, a magical appearance by Santa and the nightly snow blizzard. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 29-Dec. 22, visitors can enjoy the gorgeously adorned Christmas in Roseland with its millions of twinkling lights, entertainment and ever-popular Christmas Cards to the Community.

Head south on the trail and join in on Alexandria/Pineville’s annual “12 Nights of Christmas” celebration starting Nov. 28. Christmas parades featuring bands and entertainment will be held in Pineville on Dec. 6 and Alexandria on Dec. 8.

Returning this year is “A Pilgrimage to Bethlehem.” This biennial event transports the audience back in time to the birth of Jesus Christ with a dramatic recreation of first century Bethlehem. Other tour stops include: tours of the Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gins, art workshops and exhibits at River Oaks Square Arts Center, and a visit to Silver Dollar Pawn and Jewelry, home to the hit History Channel’s "Cajun Pawn Stars."

Monroe-West Monroe’s opening night of “Dancing Lights” and downtown light displays in Antique Alley and downtown Monroe returns with a lighting ceremony Nov. 30. A busy schedule of holiday offerings will take place each weekend through Dec. 14 with two parades, fireworks, live performances, Old Fashioned Christmas, and the Commander Christmas flotilla and light show. Other tour stops include: tours and special events at the Biedenharn Museum and Galleries, shops along the Downtown River Market, or creative Southern cuisine at places like Cotton from Chef Cory Bahr, recent winner of the hit television show "Chopped."

Natchitoches’ Festival of Lights will mark 87 years of celebrating the Christmas season beginning Nov. 23 with “Turn on the Holidays,” a tricentennial kick-off and fireworks event. This day will be chocked full of free entertainment, food, shopping and more. Snow Fest weekend — featuring children’s activities, food vendors and “Frosty’s Avalanche Slide” — will be held Nov. 30 accompanying the Fleur de Lis Arts and Crafts Show. Natchitoches’ 87th Annual Christmas Festival kicks off, Dec. 7, with festivities every Saturday through Jan. 4. Other tour stops include: carriage rides and shopping along Cane River, guided tours of Melrose Plantation or tours of Fort Jean Baptiste.

Plan your Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights experience today. Go to www.holidaytrailoflights. com to create your own Christmas experience with the itinerary builder or request additional trip planning information.

Follow the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HolidayTrail OfLights or like them on Twitter at twitter.com/ htol2.

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