NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Natchitoches Christmas Festival is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, and the Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is sharing details about the festival’s long history and plans for this year’s festival.

The Christmas Festival tradition began in 1927 when employees of the City of Natchitoches’ utility department decided to give their customers a Christmas present. They erected an 8-foot star made of white lights and placed it downtown so everyone could see and enjoy the wonders, not only of the season but also of electricity.

Over the years, new electrical displays were added. And in 1936, local businessmen added fireworks for the community to enjoy. This was the start of something big – the beginning of one of the nation’s oldest and most spectacular community-based Christmas celebrations – the Natchitoches Christmas Festival.

For the 95th year, there will be 110 lighted set-piece displays along Cane River Lake. The themes for the displays are indicative of the season and are also determined by world events. In addition to the set pieces, the City is covered with more than 350,000 colored lights.

The lights will be turned on Saturday, November 20, 2021, and remain on through January 6, 2022.

There are no admission costs to the riverbank area Sunday through Friday to view the lights and enjoy the food vendors. A $10 armband will be required for access to the riverbank area on Saturdays from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18. Armbands can be pre-purchased at or at the ticket booths on Saturdays.

Saturday, December 4 is the 95th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Enjoy the daylong event filled with music, entertainment, parade, arts and crafts, and fireworks. Mistletoe Marketplace, an annual arts and crafts market, will take place beside City Bank and Trust from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The annual Festival of Lights Parade will roll at 1 p.m. with Grand Marshal Scott Innes, the voice of Scooby-Doo, and the Mystery Machine. There will be live entertainment on the riverbank stage throughout the day with the grand fireworks show at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the Christmas Festival website at