Christmas Festival happy with financial results, overall season

The revenue may be down according to the Christmas Festival financials for 2018, however, the festival did well overall, hit its goals, and has money set aside for improvements for next year (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).

Armband pre-sales and weekend sales were down 18 percent from 2017, however it was the second rainiest December on record. “We consider ourselves lucky,” said Festival Director Lee Waskom.

The RV revenue saw a boost, according to Jill Leo, festival and events director for the Historic District Business Association (HDBA). This was due to a larger number of tour busses reserving parking.

While government funding and grant money is down from 2017 to 2018, Waskom said it’s a good thing because it shows the festival has become self sufficient.

The fireworks shows were increased by $7,500 because the festival was able to save in other areas, such as hiring a local sound system company.

Perhaps the best part about the Christmas Festival is the money it puts back into the community. Thirteen non-profit organizations operate entrance booths on festival day. The Christmas Festival ended up pumping $25,900 of its revenue into non-profits.

But there’s always new expenses that don’t get budgeted for. It’s all about the little things, from having someone man the restrooms on the north and south ends of the riverbank on Saturdays, to buying locks for the toilet paper holders in the portable toilets. An added investment that many festival goers might not think about is the purchase of a new scale to weigh green festival tickets.

Two new snow machines were purchased to add to the experience for children on Front Street. The festival plans to redo two more floats for the 2019 festival after great feedback on the new Polar Express and Santa floats.

“With how rainy it was compared to 2016, we’re thankful for the final results and how well the overall season went,” said Waskom. “We always focus on keeping the festival fresh and we’re debating what changes we can make.”

The festival office will now be located at the Natchitoches Main Street Office on front street.