The city of Lake Charles will kick off the Christmas season this Saturday with its annual Light up the Lake Christmas Celebration. Festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the city's first lighted night parade through historic downtown Lake Charles.
Local groups, including the LaGrange and Sam Houston High School marching bands, will join Santa for a festive journey from Pine Street, south on Ryan, and concluding at 7th Street.
"There will be lighted floats that will really be colorful. The two marching bands that are going to march through the streets will really give it that big-city festive atmosphere," said Matt Young, director of cultural affairs for Historic City Hall Arts and Cultural Center.
At 7:30 p.m. Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter will light the Christmas tree outside of the Civic Center as local Girl Scouts and the Barbe High School Show Choir entertain guests with carols.
The evening will continue at 8:15 p.m. with the annual lighted boat parade with more entries than ever, Young said.
"We're expecting more than 20, with some of them as big as 52 feet. These are huge boats people will be able to watch pass by beautifully on the boardwalk."
The annual fireworks display will close out the night at 8:45 p.m. with the display being launched from a new, more spectacular location.
"This year they'll be brighter and more brilliant than usual. It's going to be a very close show and people will feel like they have a front-row seat," Young said.
In the midst of holiday frenzy and bustle, Young recommended guests take time to visit the "Snow Village" on display inside of Historic City Hall, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The 20-foot intricate display is sure to delight family members young and old as they take time to enjoy the unique sight, he said.
"That's really what Christmas time is about; taking some time to slow down and enjoy time with their family," Young said. "We probably don't do that enough, especially at this time of the year. Let us reconnect and reflect on what really matters during this time of year."
All events are free for attendees as well as participants. For entry forms or more information, contact the city of Lake Charles at 491-9159 or www.cityoflakecharles.com.