Last Modified: Friday, November 30, 2012 9:47 PM
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.