By Bonnie Culverhouse
Louisiana’s annual Holiday Trail of Lights has been ushering in Christmas for 30 years.
This year, despite Covid and a year of few holiday events, Minden has soared to the number one position on the 2021 trail over Natchitoches, Shreveport/Bossier, Monroe-West Monroe and Alexandria-Pineville.
Johnnye Kennon, administrative assistant for Webster Parish Tourism, said this may not be the first time Minden has topped the list, but it is possibly the most special.
“Now is the perfect time to be number one,” Kennon said.
Kennon said Tourism has been working hard with Minden Main Street to promote the Christmas events.
“Whether you are coming from Monroe, Shreveport or Natchitoches, all roads lead to Minden,” she said.
Kennon said the reason Minden tops the list is because there is something unique about a small town at Christmas time.
“Christmas in Minden is definitely worth being recognized,” she said. “Lights line the roadways. You will notice the churches, the water tower, the hospital, the library … all the historic homes twinkling in the night sky.”
This weekend has been designated “Christmas in Minden Festival” with two days of events.
“Since we didn’t have this in 2020, we are adding some special touches this year,” she said. “Hayride tours of downtown and the historic district using two tractors pulling trailers, along with two guides and carolers at the Minden Civic Center to greet people as they come into town.”
There is really no way to gauge the number of people who travel Trail of Lights, but Kennon said she often wanders through town, stopping people and asking about their hometowns.
“In 2019, we had people from New Orleans and Baton Rouge, just traveling the Trail of Lights,” she said. “We’re hoping to pull in from East Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.”
Kennon said there are many opportunities to eat and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a Northpole Children’s Area and an official lighting of the Christmas tree at Minden City Hall.
“All capped off by a fantastic fireworks display in downtown Minden,” Kennon said. “It’s truly magical and worth making the visit.”
Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride. 6 to 9 p.m. at Minden Civic Center (free)
December 11 Christmas Downtown begins (There may be a cost unless otherwise stated)
9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brunch and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Geaux Fresh
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hot Chocolate and coffee at the Broken Bean
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. North Police Children’s area at the Civic Center side parking lot.
10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Complimentary gift wrapping at First United Methodist Church
Noon to 2 p.m. Build your own s’more at Wimberly Agency.
1 to 2 p.m. Storytime, music and games with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Webster Parish Library Stewart Center. Free. The Shreveport Symphony will play in between reading and interactive games.
1 to 4 p.m. Ornament Crafting at City Art Works. Free. 2 to 4 p.m. Face Painting at City Art Works, also free.
Mistletoe Town Tree Decorating Contest. Minden Medical Pavilion. Free. From 3 to 5 p.m. vote for your favorite Christmas tree and have pictures made with the Grinch at Foot and Ankle Specialist.
5 p.m. Parade downtown.
7 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony & fireworks.
For additional information contact City of Minden Main Street 318-377-2144, Ext. 258 or Webster Parish Tourism at 318-377-4240.
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