Shreveport - Bossier City - Natchitoches - Marshall - Kilgore -
A Holiday Trail of Lights
RVers who want to experience the magic of the holiday season in exciting new
ways this year should point their pop-ups, campers, 5th-wheels and motor homes
west to the Shreveport-Bossier City area and the Holiday Trail of Lights.
Shreveport, Bossier City and Natchitoches, LA, along with Marshall, Jefferson,
and Kilgore, TX are all within about an hour's drive of each other along the
interstate highways in the Red River region of West Louisiana and East Texas.
The six cities have worked cooperatively for more than a decade to create this
wonderful holiday driving experience.
The Holiday Trail of Lights is a
showcase of millions of twinkling lights beautifully woven through the
communities. Fireworks, live entertainment, Christmas musicals, parades and
festivals are a huge part of what make the Holiday Trail of Lights the show
stopper that it is. RVers will also find lighted home tours, ice-skating,
horse-drawn carriages and a lot more.
Christmas in the Red River Region is an opportunity for RVers to experience
the magic of the season.
Shreveport-Bossier City, is a showcase
of holiday fare in Northwest Louisiana, and a great starting point for RVers on
the Holiday Trail of Lights. The twin cities have lots to offer RVing visitors
in search of the true Christmas spirit. The "December on the Red" celebration is
the center of the Holiday Trail of Lights. From Thanksgiving into the new year,
this holiday extravaganza showcases the twin cities in their "bright lights and
As part of the festivities, most downtown buildings in both
cities are illuminated with millions of sparkling lights. Neighborhoods and
historic churches in the Highland-Fairfield District are decorated with lights
and holiday scenes. And, lights transform more than just the buildings and homes
in Shreveport and Bossier City. Christmas in Roseland at the American Rose
Center (318-938-5402) turns this 118-acre rose garden into a wonderland of
fantasy. Some 4 million lights in enchanting holiday scenes and spectacular
setting await RVing visitors. The Bossier City Christmas Parade, children's
plays, fabulous food and shopping all add to the holiday fun. The R.W. Norton
Art Gallery, Eighth Air Force Museum, Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, and the
Barnwell Garden & Art Center all have glorious holiday exhibits as well.
Marshall, Tex., has outdoor ice skating and the Historic Harrison County
Courthouse is lit with more than 125,000 lights.
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving its "Rockets Over the Red", the state's
largest fireworks festival on the riverfront. The spectacular display off the
Texas Street neon-lit bridge gives bright bursts of color that are reflected on
the Red River below. Home to America's largest neon-lit bridge joining the two
cities along the Red River, Shreveport and Bossier City also offer dockside
riverboat gaming and great Louisiana cuisine.
Nach-a-dish), in central Louisiana, captures the feel of old Southern charm. The
millions of lights throughout the historic district and along the Cane River
will fill you with awe. Take time to stop and enjoy the annual Christmas
Festival featured in the film "Steel Magnolias". This year's festival is
December 3, and is one of the oldest and best festivals to experience in
Louisiana, with arts, crafts and food vendors, entertainment, a parade and
spectacular fireworks & laser show followed by the lighting of 300,000 plus
standard size multi-colored Christmas bulbs.
Most downtown buildings in Shreveport and Bossier City are decorated for the
Named one of the top 20
Christmas destinations in all of America by Television's Arts and Entertainment
Network in 2003, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival is bigger and better each
year. 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 every could see and enjoy the wonders, not only of the season, but also of
Over the years, new electrical displays were added. And in 1936,
local businessmen added fireworks for the community to enjoy. This was the
beginning of one of the nation's oldest and most spectacular community based
Christmas celebrations - the Natchitoches Christmas Festival, now in its' 79th
year. The number of displays has grown from the original star, to over 100
displays. The themes for the displays are indicative of the season, and are also
determined by world events. During World War II, a large "V" for victory was
included. The giant American flag, which anchors the northern end of the
displays, was built as a tribute to war veterans.
Some of the oldest and most beautiful homes in Texas are decorated in
companies have long since replaced the businessmen who purchased and fired the
first fireworks show. The show has grown into the premier fireworks pyrotechnic
event in Louisiana, with displays every Saturday in December, including
Christmas night, and a New Years' Eve midnight show.
The Festival, held
annually on the first Saturday in December, draws more than 100,000 visitors
annually. A 2-mile parade through the downtown National Historic Landmarks
District of Natchitoches, featuring most of the areas top high school bands,
begins at 1 p.m. There is an admission fee for entry into the downtown and
riverbank area during the festival.
The spectacular fireworks display off the Texas Street Bridge is the
highlight of the Rockets Over the Red celebration on the Saturday after
Cross over the state line to Jefferson,
TX to take part in the small town Christmas cheer. Christmas is a special time
in the historic riverport of Jefferson, marked by the annual Candlelight Tour of
Homes during the first two weekends of December. RVers can experience the charm
and elegance of a bygone era while touring some of the oldest and most beautiful
homes in Texas. Adorned with all natural cedar, pine, and fir each home is a
picture postcard of Christmas memories of long ago.
Step into a page of the
South's past with a tour of Scarlet O'Hardy's Gone With the Wind Museum
(903-665-1939). At the Marion County Chamber of Commerce see the Christmas tree
decorated with gingerbread men. The Historic Jefferson Railway re-creates the
Golden Era of steam railroading. RVers can also glide along Big Cypress Bayou on
a riverboat and hear tales of legend and lore of Jefferson's colorful and
storied past as a thriving Riverport in the 1800s.
The Excelsior Foundation
presents an authentic adaptation of Charles Dickens classic story, "A Christmas
Carol" with local actors. And the sounds of the season will resonate throughout
Jefferson at musical concerts of choral groups, hand bells and chimes held in
local churches, sponsored by the Historic Jefferson Foundation.
Several homes in all five communities are open for holiday tours during the
Historical Harrison County Courthouse in Marshall, TX is the town's "crown
jewel" at holiday time with more than 125,000 tiny white lights. Marshall's
Wonderland of Lights Festival offers an outdoor ice skating rink on the downtown
square, and don't forget to get your picture taken with Santa.
'Grandaddy' of all Christmas light festivals in Texas will begin its 18th year
on November 23 in Marshall. The Wonderland of Lights has grown into one of the
largest light spectaculars, with over 10 million lights throughout the
community. This internationally known festival will feature nightly tours,
entertainment, candlelight home tours, carriage rides, a lighted Christmas
Parade and nightly visits with Santa.
On Saturday, December 3rd, RVers can
enjoy a Cowboy Breakfast, featuring a chuckwagon breakfast along with a host of
entertainment including singing groups and dancers. Santa will be arriving by
AMTRAK at the Marshall Depot in mid-morning and the annual Lighted Christmas
Parade, with over 100 lighted entries takes place in the afternoon. The
Budweiser Clydesdales will highlight this year's parade. And on December 31st,
RVers can experience "New York, Texas Style" with a New Year's Eve celebration
complete with crystal ball falling from atop the Marshall Hotel.
Just a few
miles west is "Christmas in the Oil Patch" in Kilgore, TX. The oil patches
around town are festively lit. Drive through the World's Richest Acre Park and
gaze on the star topped oil derricks that light the town's skyline. Kilgore,
nestled in the piney woods of East Texas, just 60 miles west of Shreveport,
offers visitors a magical Christmas experience. Its rich history in oil and gas,
including "The World's Richest Acre" located in downtown makes the community
unique. Nightly, from Thanksgiving through New Year's, visitors can view the
colorful lighted oil derricks towering over the festively decorated downtown
area. These star-topped oil derricks Christmas beacons can be seen for miles
around, and have dotted the Kilgore skyline since the early days of the oil
On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving RVers can join thousands of East
Texas residents who flock to the downtown area for the Kilgore Christmas Parade,
an event which draws more than 100 entries each year. Bands, marching groups,
floats, and antique cars make their way through the majestically decorated
Kilgore College invites you to step back into the past at the
annual Madrigal Dinner December 4-6. Sip from the wassail bowl and enjoy the
feast of carols at the site transformed into a Merrie Old England holiday
Several of Kilgore's historic residences are open for a Holiday Tour
of Homes. Take a stroll through the sparkling lights and festively adorned homes
before taking a drive through a live nativity scene at Forest Home Baptist
Church, which brings the true story of Christmas to life while church members
tell the story. RVers can visit Danville Farm in search of their own special
Christmas tree, to cut and take back home.
While in Kilgore visit the East
Texas Oil Museum with its Boomtown and education exhibits detailing the oil boom
of the 1930's. Walk down the streets of 1930s Kilgore, a replica town inside the
museum. An elevator ride takes visitors to the center of the earth to see where
the giant oil deposit was located. A short movie in the theater offers historic
footage of the oil field and the East Texas Oil Boom.
The Holiday Trail of
Lights is an event that will get RVers into the Christmas spirit with the charm
and beauty of these six cities. For more information about the cities and events
visit the Holiday Trail of Lights website, www.holidaytrailoflights.com. For
additional information contact Brandy Evans at 318-222-9391, 800-551-8682, or
RVing Campgrounds in the Shreveport-Bossier City area include:
· C&J RV Park, (318-929-3193) 9 miles north of I-220 in Shreveport.
· Camper's RV Center (800-426-1352) I-20, exit 8 in Shreveport.
Point Landing Marina ( 318-742-4999), Bossier City.
· Clark's Red River
Marina (318-747-2002) Elm Grove, LA.
(13 miles south of Bossier City).
Hilltop Campgrounds (318-949-8486) Princeton, LA
· Kelly's Campground
· KOA Shreveport-Bossier, (318-687-1010)
· Lakewood Village RV Park, (318-686-7237)Shreveport, LA.
· Maplewood RV Park (800-569-2264) Bossier City, LA
· Pine Hill RV Park
(318-949-3916) Haughton, LA.