Holiday Time

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Published: November 2015
Celebrate the Holidays in Minden and North Louisiana with the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights  

LouisianaHTOLMindenLouisianaWith over 100 life-sized nutcrackers and light displays throughout the historic downtown district, Minden, La., is decked out and ready for the holidays. But in true Louisiana fashion, nothing begins without a good celebration.

Slated for Saturday, November 21, the Minden Fasching Fifth Season Celebration honors the city's rich German heritage. Fasching or the “Fifth Season” is the German equivalent of Mardi Gras and begins on November 11 at 11:11 a.m., and ends at Lent.

Free and open to the public, festivities kick off at 10 a.m. From German food to beer gardens to live music including Oom-Pah bands and more, there's something for everyone.

For children, in addition to clowns, a carnival and designated special events; Weihnachtsmann, a.k.a. Santa Claus, will also make an appearance.

According to Lynn Dorsey, executive director of Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, the celebration started because they felt like they needed to promote their heritage more.

The day concludes with the lighting of the displays (which will come on every night through HTOL2January 6, says Dorsey) and fireworks.

The Minden Fasching Fifth Season Celebration is part of the Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights. From mid-November to early January 2016, you can celebrate the holiday season in seven other North Louisiana destinations along the trail: Alexandria/Pineville, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches and Shreveport-Bossier. Spanning across I-20 and I-49, each city is about an hour drive from the next, thus making it simple to plan a weekend getaway for the full experience.

Along with shopping, sight-seeing, dining and more available in each city, there are signature events:

• "12 Nights of Christmas" in Alexandria/Pineville kicks off with the Holiday Magic Downtown event on Thursday, December 3.

Monroe-West Monroe welcomes in the holiday season on Saturday, November 21 with Dancing Lights and Holiday Light Displays in Antique Alley.

HTOL5• "Turn on the Holidays" on Saturday, November 21, begins Natchitoches' 45 nights of Christmas lights. Over 300,000 lights and riverbank displays will "light up" the historic district and Cane River Lake. On Saturday, December 5 is the 89th annual Christmas Festival, the oldest Christmas festival in the state.

• "Rockets Over the Red" in Shreveport-Bossier is scheduled for Saturday, November 28. Taking place at the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets, the festival will feature bands, arts and crafts, food, and a fireworks show over the Red River.

A complete schedule of events for each city can be accessed on the Holiday Trail of Lights website,

photos: personal collection