Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights
Cane River Queen Paddleboat Tours Credit: Alice Phillips
Lehmans News LB

The Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is an eight-city partnership that offers Christmas festivals, awe-inspiring lighted displays, traditional Cajun and Creole culinary experiences, firework displays, walking tours, holiday home tours and many other special activities.

The team at Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights is ready to assist in planning group tours with special itineraries, assistance with hotel room blocks and more. Customized tours can include shopping excursions, group dining experiences, gaming, events and live entertainment. This holiday season, events and attractions have been reimagined to be social distancing-friendly. “When you’re ready to plan, our team is here to help you create an unforgettable experience for your group,” said Serena Gray, public relations chairwoman for the trail and the executive director of the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.

Signature events and group tour experiences include: 

Shreveport-Bossier City: 

·        Christmas in Roseland, Nov. 27-Dec. 13 (every Fri.-Sun.) and Dec. 17-23 nightly 

·        East Bank Holiday Market, Dec. 4-11 

Minden: 

·        Christmas Tours at Germantown Colony Museum, Nov. 23- Dec. 31, Thurs.-Fri., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

·        Minden Christmas Parade, Dec. 12, 5 p.m.

Monroe-West Monroe: 

·        Festival Weekend – Dec. 4-6

·        Bawcomville Redneck Parade – Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m.

Alexandria-Pineville:

·        Rapides Symphony/“Brassy Holidays” Performance, Sun., Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. 

·        Pineville Christmas Parade, Fri., Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. 

Natchitoches:

·        Turn on the Holidays Nov. 21, 2020 various activities all day

·        Christmas in the Park Nov. 20 – Dec. 26 multiple dates 6-10 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 6-9 p.m. other days

For group trip planning information visit www.holidaytrailoflights.com/group-tours

Shreveport-Bossier City and Natchitoches were founding members of the original trail that began in 1993 in partnership with two Texas cities — Marshall and Jefferson. The Texas partners have since left the trail and Louisiana partners — Minden, Monroe-West Monroe and Alexandria/Pineville — joined Shreveport-Bossier City and Natchitoches to form the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights in 2011.

Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights
Christmas in Roseland
Credit: Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights

Despite the changes, the principal goal has remained the same: to increase tourism during November and December when leisure visitation slows down. The economic impact of tourism will be even more important this year after Louisiana’s shelter-in-place orders nearly shuttered tourism for about two months in March and April, as a result of COVID-19.

“Natchitoches will be celebrating its 94th annual Christmas Festival and has been a member of the Holiday Trail of Lights since the beginning,” said Arlene Gould, executive director of the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As the state’s oldest holiday celebration and one of the nation’s oldest continuing holiday festivals, the return on our investment in the Holiday Trail of Lights has been very valuable for us as a small rural community.” 

In the past, the eight partner cities put on more than 100 events from November to December. This year, locals and out-of-town guests are encouraged to visit multiple cities and explore the family-friendly festivities. Many of the events are free and open to the public. All of the cities are about an hour-long drive from the next nearest city on interstates I-20 and I-49.

To plan a holiday experience, visit www.holidaytrailoflights.com. The website offers an itinerary building tool, events calendar for each city and lodging information. Sign up for the e-newsletter to learn about event announcements and get the latest information.