Frequently Asked Questions

For more information the public can call 800-259-1714 or 318-652-7078.

For inquiries regarding Vendor participation, Entertainment, Parade or Fireworks email: coordinator@natchitocheshdba.org or festival@natchitocheschristmas.com

When is Natchitoches Christmas Festival
  • Natchitoches Christmas Season is November 19th – January 6th
  • Christmas Festival Day is Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

ARMBANDS

How much are armbands for the Christmas Festival?

$8 pre-sale \$10 day of for ages 12 & up
Armbands may be purchased online November 1st for ALL Admission weekends.

Where can I purchase armbands in advance?

CLICK HERE to order armbands online to be mailed. The last day to order online is Noon, November 28th for Festival Day December 3rd. If you are in Natchitoches, all bank branches of Bank of Montgomery (including Montgomery and Derry branches), City Bank and Trust Company (including Many and Campti branches), Exchange Bank, First Federal Bank of Louisiana, La Capitol Federal Credit Union (including Alexandria and Pineville branches), MidSouth Bank, Sabine State Bank will be selling armbands. The following local businesses will also have armbands for sale: Brookshire’s Food, College Inn, Econo Lodge, Hampton Inn & Suites, Super 8, McDonald’s.
**Armbands for Festival Day ARE NOT accepted any other weekends. Each weekend has a different armband.

Do you charge on other weekends?

YES. November 26th, December 10th & 17th, 2016. Armbands for these weekends may be purchased in advance online starting November 1st or by calling the festival office at 318-652-7078. Armbands are only needed from 1pm through time for the fireworks if you go down on the Riverbank.

TARPS ON RIVERBANK

What time can I put down a tarp on the riverbank?

On the South Side (right side looking across the river from Front Street) of the bridge, you can reserve a 6×8 or an 8×10 tarp for $60 by contacting LaShonda with the City of Natchitoches Parks and Recreation at 318-357-3892.You will receive 6 to 8 armbands respectively that gives you access to the tarp area ONLY; NOT THE FESTIVAL GATED AREA. Festival Armbands are SOLD SEPARATELY. CLICK HERE to access our online store for armbands to the Festival Gated Area. Tarp sales begin July 1st.

On the North Side (left side-stage side) of the bridge, there is NO CHARGE to place a tarp in this area; however, tarps CANNOT be placed until 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 3, 2016. Spots are on a first-come, first –serve basis. You must provide your own tarp or blanket. Two gates will open at 5:30am —the Church Street and the Church Street Bridge gate (Williams Avenue side) to walking traffic only.

Is there reserved seating?

Refer to answer above.

FIREWORKS & LIGHTS

What time are the fireworks? Are the lights on?

Turn on the Holidays is November 19, 2016. The Lights are turned on followed immediately by Fireworks at 7:00p.m. sharp.

Lights come on at dusk daily starting November 20, 2016 through January 6, 2017.

FESTIVAL DAY, December 3, 2016, Fireworks are at 6p.m. – Lights come on immediately following.

All other Saturdays (November 26, December 10 and December 17, and December 31st) Fireworks are at 7p.m.

PLEASE NOTE: FIREWORKS WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 23RD (CHRISTMAS WEEKEND ONLY) AT 7P.M. THERE WILL BE NO FIREWORKS SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24TH!

When are the lights turned on for the first time during the season?

November 19th, 2016 during the Turn on the Holidays event.

PARADE & GRAND MARSHAL

What time does the parade start?

The Parade will begins at 1p.m. from the corner of Jefferson and University Parkway.

Is it too late to enter the parade?

Parade applications are due by September 15th. Click here to fill out our online form to be considered as a participant.

Can I ride or walk with my child’s group?

No, only those with a walker’s permit will be allowed to accompany the groups.

Can you tell me where our float will be?

Directions to your designated lineup will be emailed in November to the group leader. Contact your group leader.

Can you help us find a driver for the parade?

No, you are responsible for your own driver.

Can you help us secure a vehicle for the parade?

No, you are responsible for your own vehicle.

Who is the Grand Marshal?

610 Stompers from New Orleans

For other inquiries, please call 318-652-7078 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. M-F

STREET & BRIDGE CLOSURES

Which streets will be closed on Christmas Festival Day?

Barricades in the downtown area go up at 5:00 a.m., including the Church Street Bridge. At 5:30 a.m., the gate entrances at Church Street and Williams Avenue will be open and armbands can be purchased at this location. At 6:30 a.m., all other gates will be open for access downtown and armbands will be on sale.
Jefferson Street from Amulet Street to Touline will CLOSE to vehicle traffic at 6:00 a.m.

Washington Street from Texas Street to Lafayette Street will CLOSE to vehicle traffic at 6:00 a.m.
University Parkway from Jefferson Street to Second Street will CLOSE for parade line up at 12:00 p.m. (noon).

At 12:00 p.m. (noon), the Pine Street/Keyser Avenue Bridge will close to vehicular traffic and all parade route barricades from University Parkway north to Lafayette Street will go up for the parade which begins at 1:00 p.m.

At 12:00 p.m. (noon), eastbound traffic on University Parkway will be stopped at Boyd Street and westbound traffic on Mill Street will be stopped at Airport Road.

At 5:00 p.m., the Church Street Bridge will CLOSE to foot traffic for firework preparations.

At 5:00 p.m., barricades on Williams Avenue north of Henry Avenue to St. Maurice Lane and the intersections of East Second Street with Stephens Avenue, St. Clair Avenue, Whitfield Drive, Sirod Street, and Adelaide Street will go in place. No public parking is allowed on the streets mentioned above beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Festival Day.

After the parade has ended and foot traffic allows, Jefferson Street and Second Street will open from Amulet Street south to University Parkway.

What time does the bridge close on Christmas Festival Day?

Church Street Bridge closes at 5:00 a.m. to vehicle traffic and at 4:30 p.m. to foot traffic. Pine Street/Keyser Avenue Bridge closes at 12:00 p.m. (noon) for vehicle traffic, but will reopen after the parade which starts at 1:00 p.m.

Subsequent weekends – Church Street Bridge closes at 6:30 p.m. to vehicle and foot traffic for all other weekends and will reopen about an hour after the fireworks show.

Is Front Street closed during other weekends during the Christmas Season?

Front Street is subject to close between 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays, November 19 through December 17, 2016 and on Friday, December 23, 2016.

What streets will be one-way on Festival Day?

Third Street – From Church Street northbound to Texas Street
Church Street – From Third Street westbound to Fifth Street.
Fourth Street – From Texas Street southbound to Church Street
Fairgrounds Road – From Rapides Drive westbound to Hwy 1 Bypass.

RV, BUS and Auto PARKING

Where can I park my car, RV, mobile homes or Bus on Christmas Festival weekend?

CLICK HERE for the list of reserve parking lots or look under the Accommodations/Parking.
All vehicles must obey posted parking signs. On December 3rd, 2016 beginning at 10:00 a.m., no public parking is allowed in the first block of Williams Avenue to East Second Street including the following streets: St. Maurice, Adelaide Street, Sirod Street, Whitfield Drive, St. Clair Avenue, Stephens Avenue and Henry Avenue. No chairs may be set up in this area as well.
No cars are allowed on the riverbank on Saturdays due to fireworks and children’s activities.

HANDICAP/SPECIAL NEEDS

Is there any handicap parking?

Most parking lots are on level ground and sidewalks are handicap accessible. For Festival Day only designated Handicap parking will be located in the City Hall Parking Lot at 700 Second Street. This lot must be entered from St. Denis Street. ONLY vehicles with a handicap mirror tag or license plate will be allowed to park in the lot. Attendent will be on site.

Is there a shuttle? Information provided below on iShuttle is for 2016.

NEW SERVICE -iShuttle to provide transportation from Natchitoches Central High School and Hotels at I-49 (Best Western, Confort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Days Inn, Econo Lodge, Quality Inn & (Super 8 – Saturdays Only)) to the downtown area on the following Saturdays: 11/26, 12/3, 12/10 and 12/17 starting at 10:00AM. iSHuttle will also provide transportation from the hotels on the following Fridays: 11/25, 12/2, 12/9 and 12/16 from 4-10pm. iSHuttle will provide easy and quick access to the downtown festivities. No need to spend valuable time searching for an unsecured parking spot. iSHuttle is prepared to handle all size of strollers.

Security at Natchitoches Central High School will be provided and monitored by campus security cameras. The parking passes are very affordable based on the size of your vehicle

Car/SUV/Truck – $25.00

RV – $50

Motorcoach – $100

You’ll be able to pay for your parking pass on location or you can prepay by using the PayPal link below. Simply print your receipt and present it to the attendant at check in. All members of your party will be issued a wristband that will allow round trip transportation. CLICK HERE to make your reservation and more information on iShuttle. Maps for iShuttle parking, pickup and drop off.

ATV’S & GOLF CARTS

Can I use a golf cart or ATV?

No, golf carts and ATVs are not allowed. Children may ride in strollers and small wagons. For safety reasons, children scooters, roller blades or skate boards will NOT be allowed downtown on Saturdays during Festival Season.

VENDORS & BOOTHS

Are food vendors open during the week on the riverbank?

Food vendors are open on the riverbank daily starting the Saturday before Thanksgiving through January 6th.

What methods of payments do the food and merchandise vendors accept?

All festival vendors inside the gated area will require tickets to purchase food and/or merchandise. Tickets may be purchased from all ticket booth locations as well as at automated ticket machines on festival day. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Dickens & Co., Georgia’s Gift Shop and Kaffie-Frederick. Ticket machines take $1’s, $5’s, $10’s or $20’s. An ATM is available.

Is it too late to be a food vendor?

Anyone interested in becoming a vendor for the 20176 Christmas Festival please email Festival organizers at coordinator@natchitocheshdba.org after February 1st, 2017.

Can I set up on Second Street and sell items?

No, only Festival-approved vendors can set up to sell items and\or food.

Who can I contact about setting up a booth?

For food booths email Festival organizers at coordinator@natchitocheshdba.org after February 1st, 2017. For Craft booths call the Women’s Resource Center – 318-357-8888.

PETS/ANIMALS

Can I bring my pet with me to the Festival?

NO. No pets of any kind (cats, dogs, reptiles, farm animals) are allowed downtown on Saturdays during Festival Season. Anyone caught with a pet on the riverbank or downtown during the festival will be asked to leave.
Only service or assistant dogs for those with special needs ARE allowed. Owner must present appropriate credentials upon entering downtown riverbank.

MISCELLANEOUS

Can we bring coolers on Christmas Festival day?

No.

Can we bring lawn chairs or folding chairs?

Yes. However, chairs cannot block sidewalks or public right of ways. No areas may be roped off for chairs at any time. Any unattended chairs will be removed. Chairs may not be placed in the Fireworks Safety Zone as defined previously.

Can I pass out flyers promoting my business?

NO. There is a City ordinance against debris.

Will there be a mass at Immaculate Conception Church?

Please contact your church administrator for alternate church services at 318-352-3422.

CANCELLATIONS/BAD WEATHER

Where will there be information about cancelation or rescheduling, should the weather get bad.

Rain, shine, sleet, ice or snow, the Christmas Festival will go on.
We will notify the local media of any major cancellations or changes, follow us on Facebook at Natchitoches Christmas.
Any such announcements will be made from the stage on the riverbank for those already in the downtown area.

HOLIDAY KIDS FEST EVENTS

What time are the Kids’ Events?

Friday (3pm-10pm) and Saturday (10am-10pm) starting November 19th through Saturday December 31st includes inflatables, laser tag, bull ride, and spider jump, with the exception of December 2nd and 3rd.

SANTA HOUSE

When is the Santa House Open

Santa Claus will be at the Santa House nightly from 6:00-8:30 p.m. from Sunday, December 4th thru December 23rd. No admission charge.

ENTERTAINMENT

Who is the entertainment and what are the times band’s play?

TBA

T-SHIRTS

Where are can I purchase a T-shirt?

Georgia’s Gift Shop, Gift’s Galore, The Hall Tree, Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile, Louisiana Purchase, Dickens & Co. and Posey’s Sport Center in Natchitoches.

How much are T-shirts?

Please contact the vendors above for prices.

What are the sizes of the T-shirts?

Adult-S, M, LG, XL, XXL, XXXL. Youth XS, S, M, L

FESTIVAL POSTER

Where can I purchase the Christmas Festival poster?

Posters are on sale for $35 each and miniature versions of the poster are sold for $3 each. They can be purchased at Cane River Gallery and Georgia’s Gifts downtown on Front Street, or at the Office of Community Development. For more information call the Office of Community Development at (318) 357-3838. CLICK HERE to view this year’s poster.

FRONT STREET BUSINESSES

Are the shops on Front Street open?

Most shops on Front Street are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the month of December.

OTHER EVENTS

Are there other events on the riverbank during the week other than the lights? All dates and events listed below are for 2016 as update become available we will post them.

YES, CLICK HERE [/Schedule] dates and times.

Fleur de Lis Arts & Craft Show – Saturday November 26th, 9:00AM-4:30PM, Natchitoches Event Center
Les Amis Christmas Treasures Arts & Craft Show – Saturday, November 19th, 9:00AM-4:00PM, Natchitoches Events Center

Entertainment: November 21 – 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. – GQP and 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Louisiana Red on the Downtown Riverbank stage; November 28 – 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. – LaCour Bros Trio and 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Kevin Naquin & The Ossum Playboys on the Downtown Riverbank stage; December 5 – 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Brody Caster & other SMG Nashville Artist and 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Chicken on the Bone on the Riverbank stage; December 12 – 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. – After Hours and 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Hank Staples & Thunder Creek on the Riverbank stage; December 19 – 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. – TBA and 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs

Natchitoches Historic Foundation Christmas Tour of Homes
Tour 1: Wednesday, December 9 & 16 (5:00 – 8:00pm) Home TBA for 2015
Tour 2: Friday, December 11 & 18 (5:00 – 8:00 pm) Home TBA for 2015
Tour 3: Saturday, December 12 & 19 (1:00 – 4:00 pm) Home TBA for 2015

Complimentary Admission for Saturday Tour Ticket Holders:
LOUISIANA SPORTS HALL OF FAME & NORTHWEST LOUISIANA HISTORY MUSEUM-800 rue Front. The 27,500-square-foot museum complex provides a permanent home showcasing and celebrating the achievements of more than 300 Louisiana athletes, coaches and other sports figures. Located on the second floor, the Northwest Louisiana History Museum explores the evolution of unique cultural traditions of the area from early native-American civilizations to the present. Call 1-800-259-1714 to order tickets.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 & Thursday, December 4, 2014 -* 7 p.m. Natchitoches/Northwestern Christmas Gala, AA Fredericks Auditorium NSU campus. $ CLICK HERE to order tickets

5K RUN December 6th – For information and registration forms CLICK HERE.

HOTELS & BED & BREAKFAST

Do you have a list of places to stay in Natchitoches?

YES. Go to the accommodations tab for a list of bed and breakfast, hotels and campground/RV parking. Also, visit www.natchitoches.com for a complete list of accommodations in the immediate area.

If all of the hotels are booked, where do I call?

Call local numbers for best results only. Check with the Tourism Office at 1-800-259-1714. They keep an up-to-date list of openings.

Is there transportation from the hotels?

Yes. iShuttle will be offering shuttle services on Fridays and Saturdays during the Festival Season. iShuttle will provide transportation from Hotels at I-49 (Best Western, Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Days Inn, Econo Lodge, Quality Inn & (Super 8 – Saturdays Only) ) to the downtown area on the following days:

Fridays: 11/25, 12/2, 12/9 and 12/16 from 4PM-10PM.

Saturdays: 11/26, 12/3, 12/10 and 12/17 from 10AM-10PM

iShuttle will provide easy and quick access to the downtown festivities. No need to spend valuable time searching for an unsecured parking spot. iShuttle is prepared to handle all size of strollers.

Armbands range from $10-$20 per person.

CLICK HERE to make your reservation and more information on iShuttle. Maps for iShuttle parking, pickup and drop off.

Simply print your receipt and present it to the attendant at check in.

Do you have pet friendly hotels?

You will need to contact hotels and ask their policy on pets. Call local numbers best results only.

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