Thousands of visitors descended on Natchitoches for a holiday experience unlike any other. From colonial era reenactors, top quality entertainment and one of the finest fireworks shows in the country, there was something for everyone at the 93rd Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival on Dec 7. Grand Marshall Rick Rowe led the Christmas Festival Parade.
Natchitoches’ Northwestern State University had a full contingent in the parade. The Spirit of Northwestern Band was joined by the Demon cheerleaders, spirit and dance groups as well as the ubiquitous Dr. Chris Maggio. Natchitoches Central, Lakeview, and St. Mary’s were represented by their bands, ROTC and spirit groups. Area dance schools showcased their students’ routines to a delighted crowd that lined the route several people deep. This year’s parade featured several visiting officials from the National Park Service. Regional Director Bob Bogel and Deputy Regional Director Lance Hatton joined Carrie Mardorf, superintendent of the Cane River Creole National Historic Park and Rebecca Blankenbaker of the Cane River National Heritage Area on a National Park Service float. It just is not Christmas in Natchitoches without the Christmas Belles, Christmas Angels and Miss Merry Christmas who threw beads and candy to paradegoers. Visiting high school bands and pageant queens rounded out the family fun.
After the parade, the Mike McKenzie Band entertained the festive crowd. The evening concluded with the Festival’s traditionally massive fireworks show.