Southwest Louisiana hosting Christmas events today

By Special to the American Press

Christmas officially begins today in Southwest Louisiana with a slew of parades, fireworks, concerts and other festive events

to get residents in the spirit.

In Lake Charles, the annual Light up

the Lake celebration at the Civic Center will begin at 2 p.m. with a

parade through downtown

beginning on Bord du Lac Drive.

It will go down Broad Street, turn south on Ryan Street and end at Clarence Street.

Santa’s Workshop will be 3-5 p.m. in the Civic Center Exhibition Hall. Children will get to meet with Santa. There will be

games and prizes, and Mayor Randy Roach will read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

The Community Band Christmas Concert

will be 4-5:15 p.m. in the Civic Center’s second-floor mezzanine. The

ceremony for the

lighting of the Civic Center grounds and the Lakefront Promenade

will be at 5:30 p.m. on the front lawn. The official “flipping

of the switch” will be at 6 p.m.

A block party will be 6-9 p.m. along

the Lakefront Promenade. It will include food vendors, face painting and

music by Boomerang.

The lighted boat parade will be at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks will go

off at 8 p.m.

In Sulphur, the Christmas Under the

Oaks festival will run 10 a.m.-10 p.m. in Heritage Square, with local

dance groups performing

in the morning and carnival rides opening at noon.

Children can have breakfast with Santa at 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. Tickets are $5, and seating is limited.

The Sulphur Kiwanis Christmas Balloon Parade is set for 3 p.m. and will travel down Cypress Street and end at Heritage Square.

The Festival of Lights, which includes

the lighting of the Christmas tree, will be at 6 p.m. Louisiana Express

will perform

4-5:30 p.m. and Bag of Donuts, 7-9 p.m. The Holiday House,

featuring more than 30 booths, will open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Admission

is $5.

In DeQuincy, the Christmas at the

Railroad Museum continues today and will include thousand of exterior

lights, a laser show

and several trees on display. Also, the annual Taste of the

Holiday and Tour of Homes will begin at 4:30 p.m., followed by

a tasting at the JCE Center at 6 p.m. Tickets for the event are

$12 and can be purchased from the DeQuincy Civic Club. Call

274-3572 for information.

Starks’ annual parade is set for 2 p.m., beginning and ending at VFW Post 4759 on La. 12, with a Christmas gumbo to follow.

Jennings will host its annual gumbo cookoff at 4:30 p.m. A parade down Main Street will be at 5:30 p.m., followed by live

entertainment, a bonfire, and fireworks at 9 p.m. in the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park.

Winners of the annual gingerbread house contest will be announced at noon at the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors

Bureau, 1205 North Lakeshore Drive.

Online: www.visitlakecharles.org/cajunchristmas.