Santa Claus and his live reindeer are coming to town.
They will be an additional feature to the Turn on the Holidays event Saturday, Nov. 17. The reindeer will be available on the Riverbank from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for children of all ages to see, but not touch for safety reasons. There is a $5 admission fee.
The kickoff to the Christmas season in Natchitoches began in September with the unveiling of this year’s Christmas Festival poster and the selection of Miss Merry Christmas and her Christmas Bells and Christmas Angels, whom will be attending Saturday’s events. In October, the strings of Christmas lights (300,000 by most count) and 100 lighted set pieces began popping up around town and on the riverbank.
This Saturday is the official kickoff. Even though it is two weeks before Christmas Festival Day, which is Dec. 1, the weekend before Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas Season in Natchitoches. It will be a day full of entertainment, children’s activities including bounce houses, fireworks and family fun. Most are free to the public. Events begin at 9 a.m. with the Les Amies annual Christmas Treasurers Arts and Craft show at the Natchitoches Events Center. There is no admission charge.
The events along the Riverbank begin at 10 a.m. The lights will be turned on during a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The program will include Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser followed by fireworks at 7 p.m. Music on the Riverbank Stage, featuring Cane River Soul and 92Twenty, continues until 9:15 p.m.
Another tradition is the Holiday Open House of downtown businesses from 4-7 p.m. sponsored by the Historic District Downtown Merchant’s Association (HDBA).