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

ARMBANDS

  • How much are armbands for the Christmas Festival? TBA
    • Armbands may be purchases online November 1st
  • Where can I purchase armbands in advance?
    • CLICK HERE to order advance armbands to be mailed, last day to order online is Noon, November 28th. If you are in Natchitoches, all bank branches of Bank of Montgomery (available at Montgomery and Derry branches), City Bank and Trust Company (available at Many and Campti branches), Exchange Bank, First Federal Bank of Louisiana, La Capitol Federal Credit Union (also available at Alexandria and Pineville branches), MidSouth Bank, Sabine State Bank. Local businesses: Brookshire’s Food, Causey’s Pharmacy, College Inn, Econo Lodge, Hampton Inn & Suites, Super 8, McDonald's. Armbands are on sell now.
      **Armbands for Festival Day ARE NOT accepted on subsequent weekends. Each weekend has a different armband.
  • Do you charge on other weekends?
    • YES. Dates to be announced. Armbands for these weekends may be purchased in advance online starting November 1st or by calling the festival office at 318-652-7078.

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 6x8 or an 8x10 tarp for $60 by contacting Regina with 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 began 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 5, 2015. 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, December 24 and December 31st) Fireworks are at 7p.m.
  • 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 – (There will NOT be a barge parade)

  • 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?
    • No, if you are interested in participating in our 2017 parade Click here, fillout the form letting us know you intent to enter.
  • 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?
    • TBA

For other inquiries, please call 318-652-7078 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. M-F

STREET & BRIDGE CLOSURES (Updates for 2016 will be posted in November. list below are closures for 2015)

  • 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.
    • After the parade has ended and foot traffic allows, Jefferson Street and Second Street will open from Amulet Street south to University Parkway.
    • 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.
  • What time does the bridge close on Christmas Festival Day?
    • Church Street Bridge closes at 5:00 a.m. to vehicle traffic and at 5:00 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 after Christmas Festival Day?
    • Front Street is subject to close between 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Saturdays, November 19 through December 24, 2016.
  • What streets will be one-way on Festival Day?
    • Third Street – From Texas Street southbound to Church Street
    • Church Street – From Third Street westbound to Fifth Street.
    • Fourth Street – From Amulet Street northbound to Texas 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 during the fireworks.

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.  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 2015, as we are updated we will update you.
  • NEW SERVICE -iShuttle to provide transportation from Natchitoches Central High School to the downtown area on the following Saturdays: 11/28, 12/5 sarting at 10:00AM, 12/12, and 12/19 starting at 11AM. We will provide easy and quick access to the downtown festivities. No need to spend valuable time searching for an unsecured parking spot. We're 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.

    Onsite Price: $20.00 to $40.00
    Online Price: $18.00 to $36.00 (10% discount)

    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 you 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 Festival Day.

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.
  • Is it too late to be a food vendor?
    • Anyone interested in becoming a vendor for the 2016 Christmas Festival please email Festival organizers at coordinator@natchitocheshdba.org after February 1st, 2016.
  • Can I set up on Second Street and sell items?
    • No, only Festival-approved vendors can set up for Festival Day.
  • Who can I contact about setting up a booth?
    • For food booths email Festival organizers at coordinator@natchitocheshdba.org after February 1st, 2016. 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 Festival day. 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 and Saturday starting November 28th through Saturday December 19th includes inflatables, laser tag, bull ride, and spider jump, with the exception of Festival Day December 5th.

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 6th 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 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 2015, as update become available we will post them.
    • YES, CLICK HERE [/Schedule] dates and times.
    • Fleur de Lis Arts & Craft Show - Saturday November 28th, 9:00AM-4:30PM, Natchitoches Event Center
    • Les Amis Christmas Treasures Arts & Craft Show - TBA
    • 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, for a list of accommodations, go to the accommodation 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.
  • Are 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?
    • No, you will need to drive closer to downtown and look for parking or reserved parking in advance at one of the available lots.
  • Do you have pet friendly hotels?
    • You will need to contact hotels and ask their policy on pets. Call local numbers best results only.