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Art Abounds in Area Museums

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011 8:29 by brandy

Art lovers, mark your calendars: one of the biggest art events in memory is here.  The Meadows Museum of Art, located on the campus of Centenary College of Louisiana, will host the premiere of “Copley to Warhol: 200 Years of American Art Celebrating the Centennial of the New Orleans Museum of Art,” a traveling exhibit featuring 30 of the best American paintings from the NOMA’s permanent collection.  The exhibit premiered in Shreveport before traveling to Alexandria, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge.  The collection made its debut on February 20 and will be on display through April 17.

The works included in “Copley to Warhol” present an overview of American art from 1768 to 1987, including iconic works from the likes of John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Lee Krasner, Jacob Lawrence, and Andy Warhol.  Meadows Museum Director Diane Dufilho believes that the significance of this exhibit reaches far beyond the gallery walls.  “We’re bringing the state together through the arts,” Dufilho said.  “It shows that the museums of North Louisiana and South Louisiana have real ties, and that they have confidence in us.”  As an art curator, Dufilho is obviously excited about the prospect of hosting some of these iconic paintings. “It is a thrill for museum people to deal with art of this quality,” she said. “A lot of these pieces are in every art history textbook.”  

Susan Taylor, Director of the New Orleans Museum of Art, also expressed her enthusiasm for the exhibit.  “The New Orleans Museum of Art is delighted to share these American masterworks and celebrate our centennial year statewide,” she said. “We are honored to serve and engage a broader audience through this statewide exhibition and partner with cultural institutions across Louisiana."

Dufilho describes the exhibition succinctly in one word: “broad.”  The peace and tranquility of Alfred Boisseau’s 1847 work “Louisiana Indians Walking Along a Bayou” or the beauty of Mary Cassatt’s “Mother and Child in the Conservatory” (one of the most iconic images in the exhibit) are contrasted starkly by works like Andy Warhol’s 1975 portrait of Mick Jagger.  Individually, many of these works represent turning points in the history of American art.  As a whole, the exhibit could serve as an annotated history of American art.  Admission to the Meadows Museum is free and open to the public.  For hours or more information, call (318) 869-5169. 

The Meadows Museum of Art is only one of many great local destinations for enjoying world-class art, most of which do not charge an admission fee.  The permanent collection of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, located at 4747 Creswell Avenue in Shreveport, features works ranging from sculptures by Auguste Rodin and Frederic Remington to a painting by Mary Cassatt, rare books (including a page from a 15th-century Gutenberg Bible), and more.  If planning a visit to the Norton, consider taking advantage of their First Saturday Tours, an educational and interactive guided tour that begins at 2:00 PM on the first Saturday of each month.  Upcoming tours include “The Valentine's Tour” (February 6) and “Great Artists Who Just Happen to be Women” (March 6). 

The main exhibit area of artspace in downtown Shreveport (710 Texas St.) currently features a behind-the-scenes look at the new Moonbot Studios animated film “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”  The work of local and regional artists can be found on display upstairs at artspace as well as in the Bossier Arts Council's East Bank Gallery (630 Barksdale Blvd.), where a juried photography exhibit entitled “Perspective: North Louisiana Through a Lens” will be on display throughout the month of January. 

An increasing number of galleries, museums, and exhibit spaces are providing Shreveport-Bossier City's art lovers with things to see and do – why not make a New Year's Resolution to put a little more art in your life?

 

Outdoor festivals galore in Shreveport-Bossier

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011 8:21 by brandy

The arrival of spring means outdoor festivals galore in the Shreveport-Bossier area, where events planned for April range from celebrations of the arts to festivals honoring foreign cultures. Many events are free, most are family-friendly, and all provide locals and visitors to our area with a chance to explore our diverse region’s sights, sounds, and tastes.

Two very different area festivals will be taking place on Saturday, April 2. Cork: A Red River Revel Wine Event will be held Saturday, April 2, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. in downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza. Cork will feature over 75 wines available for tasting, as well as samples of delicious food from area eateries and live music. Only 1,600 tickets to Cork are made available each year, and the event typically sells out in advance. Admission is $65. For more information, visit www.corkwinefestival.com.

If your tastes run more toward haggis than wine, you’ll enjoy the annual Scottish Tartan Festival at the Scotland Farms located just outside of Minden, Louisiana at 16119 Highway 79. Organized by the Scottish Society O Tae Louisiana Hielands, a non-profit organization designed to promote awareness of Scottish culture in the Ark-La-Tex, this event features traditional Scottish music, games (including the cable toss!), food, and lots of folks wearing kilts. The event will take place 9 a.m-8 p.m. on Saturday, April 2. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children six and up, and free for children five and under. For more information, find the Scottish Society on Facebook or visit http://scottishsocietyla.typepad.com.

The 2011 Holiday-in-Dixie Festival will mark the 63rd annual installment of the popular event, which will be held April 8-17 in downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza. Among the entertainment offerings scheduled for Holiday-in-Dixie are the popular annual treasure hunt and a busy roster of live music, including performances by the Matthew Davidson Band (7 p.m., Saturday, April 9), Benjy Davis Project (8:30 p.m., Saturday, April 9), and Elvis Presley Tribute Artist Richard Cook (8:30 p.m., Friday, April 15). Admission to Holiday-in-Dixie is free, and children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. More information, including ticket prices for rides and a complete live music schedule, is available at www.holidayindixie.com.

Artbreak, the south’s largest student arts festival, will be held April 29-May 1 at the Shreveport Convention Center in downtown Shreveport. Featuring more than 2,500 juried 2-D and 3-D visual art pieces, literary works, and original musical compositions, this free celebration of student art is a flagship program of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. In addition to the works of art on display, Artbreak showcases the talents of student performers from more than 100 Caddo and Bossier Parish schools on three performance stages. For more information, visit www.shrevearts.org or call the Shreveport Regional Arts Council at (318) 673-6500.

The 4th annual Aseana Spring Festival will be held on Saturday, April 30, beginning at 9 a.m. in downtown Shreveport’s Asian Gardens, located at the corner of Milam and Common Street near Municipal Auditorium. Each year, this delightful free festival highlights the culture of one Asian country, featuring food, dance, live music, and more. This year’s event will celebrate the culture of the Philippines. For the first time, a traditional parade (called a “Pista sa Nayon,” or “Town Fiesta”) will be included among the scheduled events. Organizers are especially excited about the food offerings, which will include a “lechon de leche,” a traditional roast pig dish that draws comparisons to the Acadian tradition of the “cochon de lait,” or traditional roast suckling pig. The program of live performances including folk dance and music will begin at 1 p.m. For more information, contact festival organizer Mary Grace de Joya Vea at (318) 797-4258.

The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau will be attending all of these great festivals and sharing tips and recommendations via Facebook at www.facebook.com/LouisianasOtherSide. To keep up with other festivals and spring events headed our way, visit www.shreveportbossierfunguide.com.

 

Blooming beauties coming in dazzling array of colors

Monday, 31 January, 2011 11:59 by brandy

The blooming beauties are coming. They will create a masterpiece of colors trumpeting spring time in Shreveport-Bossier: Louisiana’s Other Side.

The bright pink, purple, white, yellow, red, orange and bi-colored hues of azaleas, sometimes referred to as “the royalty of the garden,” at R. W. Norton Art Gallery will take your breath away. The stunning roses at the Gardens of the American Rose Center will also demand that you stop and smell the proverbial roses.

Norton is free to the public. Be sure and visit when you have time to leisurely take in the museum and gardens. In spring the gardens outside are as much masterful works of art as the extensive original pieces of American and European art inside the museum.

“One of the biggest things we want people to understand is there is always color out in the gardens,” said Jennifer Defratis, tour and special events coordinator at the Norton. “We’re always working on a new project and always finding ways to add color.”

The newest garden is called Maple Ridge and the newest tour is the Greco-Roman Outdoor Tour, 2 p.m., April 2. “We will experience the beauty of nature and share a lot of stories. Many plants derive their names from Greek mythology, and we will be exploring that,” Jennifer said.

Groups of 10 or more can arrange garden tours at anytime. They just need to call in advance and schedule a time.

Of all the garden beauties, the azaleas stand out landing the museum and gardens as one of the South’s favorite haunts in Southern Living magazine. The bountiful gardens, on 40 landscaped acres, feature more than 15,000 plants, including about 100 native and hybrid varieties of azalea. Native iris, ginger lily, coneflower, canna lily, and black-eyed Susan adorn the gently rolling terrain amid small streams tumbling over rocks and waterfalls. A large ornamental pond sits in the center of it all. The two-mile walking paths are stroller accessible.

Be your own judge of how beautiful the gardens are at the Norton. Check out a slideshow, by clicking here (http://www.rwnaf.org/gardens/)

Equally impressive and worth a visit, is the spectacular Gardens of the American Rose Center, the nation’s largest park dedicated to roses, situated on a 118-acre wooded tract in Greenwood. It’s also home to the national headquarters of the American Rose Society.

Today, the American Rose Center features more than 65 individual rose gardens and 20,000 rosebushes, a variety of companion plants, sculptures and fountains. Its newest feature is the Dudley G. Watkins Reflection Pool. Conceived as a quiet, contemplative area, the pool and surrounding elements are a magnificent entrance to the Hardtner Chapel and rose gardens beyond.

The gardens feature vignettes of possible backyard rose garden designs that could be easily replicated. Some of the features include sculptures, water features, benches for resting or reflection, garden structures, a chapel, carillon that chimes on the hour, a prayer and meditation garden, picnic tables and playground for children.

Rose Center Executive Director Jeff Ware said it’s hard to have favorites. “Personally, my favorite is whatever is blooming at the time,” he said. “However, I am a real fan of yellow roses. I love all of the yellow cultivars, especially Julia Child and St. Patrick.”

The official rose bloom season is April 1 through the end of October. For hours of operation and admission prices click here, (http://www.ars.org/?page_id=25).

To download a map with directions to the rose center click here (http://www.ars.org/pdfs/directionalmap.pdf).

Shreveport-Bossier experiencing largest increase in international visitors in nearly a decade

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011 7:49 by brandy

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER, LA-Louisiana has seen an increase in international visitors in the past year, and the benefits are showing up as additional revenue to the state coffers. Locally, this trend holds true. According to Visa Vue Travel Report published by the research and development team at the Louisiana Office of Tourism, international tourists generated more than $1.3 million in visa and cash expenditures while in Shreveport-Bossier for the first two quarters of 2010.

“These numbers are indicative of a growing interest in Shreveport-Bossier from those abroad,” said Stacy Brown, president of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. “We have seen an increase in international visitors, in particular, in the group tour market.”

The top three visiting countries to the sister cities were Canada, United Kingdom and Mexico, according to the report released in August 2010.

Recently, the tourist bureau announced that one of the major new groups to come to the area is Globus, a United Kingdom group tour company. Globus has not visited Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. The tour company’s first tour back to Louisiana was Sept. 21-23, 2010, and Globus stopped here. They have booked another nine international groups to visit Shreveport-Bossier in 2011.

In addition, the tourist bureau has been working with another international group called Sweet Magnolia Tours. They will be bringing a group of 200-250 from Ireland on October 22-25, 2011 to spend three nights in Shreveport-Bossier. This is part of a weeklong tour that will include Lafayette, New Orleans and Memphis, Tenn.

The group is being led by Robert Mizell who is the “George Strait” of European Country music and a Shreveport native. Mizell has not been to Shreveport in 20 years and is hosting this tour so his avid fans can learn more about his home town. He hopes to make this an annual trip. Mizell has a number one country song on the European Music Charts called “Mama Courtney” about his African-American mother figure who is buried in Shreveport.


“I foresee more growth. As we come out of the recession people want to go back to traveling,” said Jody Hanson, Sales and Marketing Director for Travel and Tourism Marketing, a company that provides marketing tips and advice for the tourism industry. “Specifically, people from the U.K. want to travel, because of their sense of adventure.”

She also explained that “Visitors from the U.K. typically come to Shreveport-Bossier for festivals, historical buildings, and casinos. They want to experience the music and history [you all] have to offer. Packaging all these things together is what draws attention.”

New legislation may also be cause for the rise in international tourism. In early 2010, the Travel Promotion Act was signed into law. It is a multi-million dollar, public-private partnership to promote the United States as a premier travel destination to other countries.

Shreveport-Bossier is full of relaxing modern conveniences wrapped in welcoming Southern charm. We take care of our visitors like family, filling you up with our tastiest food and treating you to as much entertainment as you want.  We are Louisiana's Other Side, and here, we are a mix of wide-open Texas spirit and spicy Cajun attitude. We took the best of big Texas and the tastiest of Louisiana and blended it into our own brand of entertainment and fun.  With so much to do in Shreveport-Bossier…why go anywhere else?!  Fall in love with Shreveport-Bossier! To learn more about all there is to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit www.shreveportbossierfunguide.com.
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Mardi Gras is the greatest free party on the earth

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010 15:41 by brandy

The stage is being prepped for Mardi Gras – one of the largest productions of enthralling fun and entertainment in Shreveport-Bossier.

Starting with the 12th Night Celebration - Saturday, Jan. 8, at the Shreveport Convention Center - until the midnight Texas Street Bridge Closing Ceremony Fat Tuesday, March 8, one of the most highly anticipated parties will rev up into high gear. The celebration typically draws some 400,000 people from around the region to experience the pageantry and ostentatious show of Mardi Gras.

The majestic floats are being painted and trimmed with bright eye catching colors and razzle, dazzle lights for the evening parades of Krewe of Centaur (www.kreweofcentaur.org), Saturday, Feb. 26 and Krewe of Gemini (www.kreweofgemini.com), Saturday, March 5. Both parades roll at 4 p.m. starting on the corner of Clyde Fant Parkway in downtown Shreveport and end at the Duck Pond on East Kings Highway. 

Purple, gold, green, and multicolor beads are being gathered, stacked and distributed throughout the large floats that carry the masked and outrageously clad krewe members.

“We will toss millions of beads,” said Robby Woods, Krewe of Gemini King. “We will have four or five tractor trailer loads of beads for the thousands of people who line the parade routes.”

Robby has been a krewe member for five years and he’s accustomed to the frenzied crowds shouting “Throw me something, Mister” in the hopes of taking home hundreds of beads, some doubloons, cups and “lagniappe” or a little something extra.

When asked why people go nuts over Mardi Gras beads, in particular the coveted limited edition king and queen specialty beads, Robby said, “It makes them feel like they are a part of the celebration.”

Besides the Krewe of Centaur parade and Krewe of Gemini parade, Shreveport-Bossier has other great parades like the Krewe of Sobek, Krewe of Highland and Krewe of Barkus and Meoux. Click here (http://www.shreveportbossierfunguide.com/search.php?terms=mardi+gras&mode=search) for a complete list of parades and dates.

“Mardi Gras allows us to connect with our Louisiana heritage and traditions,” Robby said. “It is one of the greatest free shows on earth. Mardi Gras is a gift from the krewe to the community.”

So book (www.shreveport-bossier.org/hotels) your hotel stay today. If you are a group of 10 or more and are interested in attending a private Mardi Gras party at the start of the parade then contact Erica Howard, group sales manager, at the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau at 800-551-8682 ext. 104 or ehoward@sbctb.org. The party includes food, band, specialty bead, and t-shirt all under a covered tent.

Local author explains Second Line - a Mardi Gras tradition

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010 15:38 by brandy

As Carnival season nears, it seems the air in Shreveport-Bossier is saturated with the aroma of Mardi Gras. Parades, king cakes and festive décor are everywhere you look, and before you know it, beads of vibrant colors are being hurled in every direction. Many Louisiana residents take for granted the rich tradition that is Mardi Gras, and most may not even be aware of the heritage that is the foundation of the celebration.

Robert Trudeau, a local expert on this subject, has written a guide called How to Mardi Gras, a comprehensive 36-page guide to Carnival in Louisiana with 36 illustrations.

“It covers everything from food and costumes to Cajuns and Creoles, and it even touches on global Mardi Gras,” said Trudeau. It also brilliantly demonstrates the Second Line Tradition, a group that walks throughout the parade behind a brass band.  The guide is great for visitors, those new to the area, people who haven’t experienced Louisiana, students, and party planners.

Trudeau who is involved with everything Second Line related in Shreveport-Bossier is the co-founder of the Blanc et Noir Marching Society that marches in the Krewe of Highland Parade. Highland’s Parade is March 6 through the historic Shreveport neighborhood.

He said, "We have a commitment to the rituals of traditional New Orleans Carnival. There is no float. We march and do the Second Line to the music of a Crescent City-style brass marching band."

He also has a commercial group, Robert Trudeau’s Second Line that will figuratively and literally bring the music to your table. They are one of only a few in Shreveport-Bossier to bring authentic New Orleans Jazz Music to the streets of the city. The goal is to get the people dancing!

Copies of How to Mardi Gras can be found at The Enchanted Garden and Tower Books in Shreveport and Tubb’s Hardware and Rentals in Bossier City.

To learn more about the history of The Second Line Traditions click here http://frenchquarter.com/history/SecondLine.php

For more information about the Blanc et Noir Marching Society go to http://blancetnoirmarchingsociety.blogspot.com

Drive-Thru Daiquiris: A Shreveport-Bossier Tradition

Tuesday, 21 December, 2010 15:34 by brandy

Some Shreveport-Bossier Mardi Gras traditions aren’t found along the parade route – they’re found in a Styrofoam cup with a straw taped to the lid.  Inevitably a topic of much discussion among out-of-town guests, the to-go daiquiri is a Shreveport-Bossier institution. 

Employing a drive-through lane like that of a fast-food restaurant, many Louisiana liquor stores sell daiquiris and package liquor from a drive-through window.  Of course, it’s illegal to drink and drive, so don’t be surprised when the store employee seals your drink lid with tape.

Tony’s Liquors located at 6241 Line Avenue in Shreveport is the first name in seasonal daiquiris, having created the extremely popular Eggnog Daiquiri.  This Mardi Gras season, they’ll be debuting a new creation called the “Swamp Bomb,” a concoction devised by staff member Perry Woods, formerly a bartender at a Bourbon Street institution - The Famous Door. 

It’s clear that their goal is to create a Mardi Gras frozen drink to rival New Orleans favorites like the “Hand Grenade.” 

“We’re gonna bring a little bit of that New Orleans flavor up to Shreveport,” Woods said.

Cajun Daiquiri offers four locations throughout Shreveport, including a store just off the major parade route at 3306 Youree Drive offering two specialty drinks during parade season - the “Throw Me Something, Mister” and the “Mardi Gras.”  Both drinks will be available beginning in mid-February, but if you’ve got a taste for a regional daiquiri legend, try the Cajun Curse, a potent lemonade-style drink revered by locals. 

Interested in learning more about Shreveport-Bossier’s signature frozen drinks?  Visit the Drink Swamp Water blog (http://drinkswampwater.blogspot.com).      

Ever wander what it's like to be a dinosaur? You don't have to any more

Monday, 1 November, 2010 10:20 by brandy

Dinosaurs are such mysteries creatures, because no human has actually seen or experienced one. That is until now. The traveling exhibit, "Be the Dinosaur Life in the Cretaceous" at Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center is changing that.

The exhibit is open to the public through January 5, 2011. It utilizes proprietary simulation software to allow visitors to “become” dinosaurs in an accurately rendered and fully interactive Cretaceous world. Simulation pods are networked together, creating a social free play experience that offers hands-on exploration of the ways in which dinosaurs may have related to one another and to their environments.

“People of all ages are really getting into this exhibit,” said Sci-Port’s Marketing Manager Karen Wissing. “If you like the virtual world, you’ll love this.”

Inquiry-based learning experiences abound in this exhibit, which provides information throughout about dinosaurs’ defense mechanisms, the types of food they eat, and how they utilize their senses. Visitors can then use this information to customize their own dinosaur simulator pod adventures.

Because Sci-Port is such an experiential science center, visitors can design their own dinosaur and excavate fossils to take home as souvenirs. Click here to see a video about the Be the Dinosaur Life in the Cretaceous exhibit.

Sci-Port exists to provide a fun, educational environment for people of all ages to explore and actively engage in the world of mathematics, science and technology. It has more than 290 exhibits, 70 plus interactive programs and demonstrations, and Louisiana’s only IMAX Domed Theater. The new Counter Culture offers the popular “Humphrey”, a scrumptious yogurt dessert and other snack items.

The center is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. For more information call (318) 424-3466 or visit them online at www.sciport.org.

 

Let Shreveport-Bossier brighten your holidays

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010 13:23 by brandy

Shreveport-Bossier will having you seeing stars this holiday season.  Whether it’s a movie star filming around town, or the glittering lights along the Red River, Shreveport-Bossier will brighten your holidays with dazzling lights and neon nights.

Holiday fun starts for the sister cities, 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18 at the coolest place – the Louisiana Boardwalk. Thousands of visitors and residents gather for the ceremonial switching on of the lights on the tallest outdoor Christmas tree in Shreveport-Bossier standing at 30 feet tall.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the KCS Christmas Train rolls into downtown Shreveport’s Festival Plaza, Nov. 26 at 4 p.m. with Santa Clause and his elves. The train only visits select cities in the South.

But the crown jewel of holiday celebrations is Christmas in Roseland with its whimsical, bedazzled rose park. More than one million sparking, white lights transform the gardens. The well-crafted, eight-foot tall Christmas cards, crafted by area students, tell a story of cherished holiday activities. This weekend event runs from Nov. 26-Dec. 19.

“The holidays in Shreveport-Bossier are meant to be enjoyed with family,” said Stacy Brown, president of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. “That’s why you find something to see and do almost every night from the official lighting ceremony until the end of the year.”

The riverfront areas on both sides of the Red River will offer fun with shopping and programmed activities on the Boardwalk to new events like the laser show at Barnwell Garden and Art Center and toy making workshops at Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center.

Last year, the Barnwell introduced the community and visitors to a laser light show. Well, organizers of last year’s event have brought it back bigger than ever. There will be a fast-paced laser show every 20 minutes in the conservatory and constant kid activities outside on the patio. Local artists will be showcasing and selling their works for those looking for a one-of-a-kind gift.

In north Caddo Parish, Christmas on Caddo Fireworks Festival promises a grand fireworks display, starting at 3 p.m., Dec. 4 in Earl Williamson Park in Oil City. This is the area’s only fireworks extravaganza.

“This event was started some 16 years ago by the Vivian Chamber and Rotary Club for the north Caddo area, because there was virtually nothing going on up there,” said Mary Dunn, festival organizer. “But today our entire community embraces it and that’s what makes it so special and so successful.”

Shreveport-Bossier has so much happening. Other great events include: Benton on the Square Festival, Dec. 11; Highland Home Tours, Dec. 11-12; Sci-Port’s Toy Making Workshops, Dec. 18-30; and Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, Dec. 27.
For more holiday events, check out www.holidaytrailoflights.com.


Shreveport-Bossier is full of relaxing modern conveniences wrapped in welcoming Southern charm. We take care of our visitors like family, filling you up with our tastiest food and treating you to as much entertainment as you want.  We are Louisiana's Other Side, and here, we are a mix of wide-open Texas spirit and spicy Cajun attitude. We took the best of big Texas and the tastiest of Louisiana and blended it into our own brand of entertainment and fun.  With so much to do in Shreveport-Bossier…why go anywhere else?!  Fall in love with Shreveport-Bossier! To learn more about all there is to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit www.shreveportbossierfunguide.com.
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Your magical merriment begins on the Holiday Trail of Lights

Wednesday, 20 October, 2010 7:31 by brandy


Your magical holiday experience should begin with the Holiday Trail of Lights.  Be transported to all kinds of memorable experiences such as ice skating, fireworks, parades, and toy workshops all in six cities and two states.  
You are sure to love dining, shopping, and sight-seeing in Shreveport-Bossier, Natchitoches, Louisiana and Marshall, Jefferson and Kilgore, Texas to promote holiday festivities along Interstate 20 and 49.
Running until New Year’s Day, the Holiday Trail of Lights will leave you breathless trying to fit everything in.  Shreveport-Bossier’s annual Lighting Ceremony will kickoff the season’s 40 nights of wondrous lights on Nov. 16. Other nightly, self-guided tours of lights and other events will follow through Jan. 1, 2011.
Shreveport-Bossier shares the Red River and close proximity in northwest Louisiana.  The riverfront offers fun with shopping and programmed activities at the Louisiana Boardwalk.  Bigger and better to this year’s event lineup is a laser show at Barnwell Garden and Art Center and toy making workshops at Sci-port: Louisiana’s Science Center to compliment holiday home tours, fireworks festival, and other events.

Head south of the sister cities to Natchitoches.  This city has the oldest festival in Louisiana dating back to 1927 when city employees at the utility department decided to give their customers a Christmas present - an eight-foot star made of white lights and placed downtown for everyone to enjoy.  The festival has grown quite a bit since 1927 and now includes shopping, entertainment, carolers, fireworks and snow. Carriage tours will be available in the evening through the National Landmark Historic District.                                                                                             
Cross the Louisiana state line to Texas and its all aboard in Jefferson, on the Rail of Lights Christmas Train.  The unforgettable ride on an old-fashioned steam train will have passengers in awe as they view the lights along the Cypress Bayou River and are told of the origins of the Christmas tree and how it has evolved over the centuries. 
Mosey on over to Marshall for the most spectacular 40-day Wonderland of Lights Festival in its history.  In keeping with its name, the 2010 Wonderland of Lights extravaganza will feature more than one million lights and 400 lighted displays in the historic downtown area and throughout the city. Just one of the exciting additions this year will be entitled the Wonderland Experience Light Show, which is a nightly choreographed light performances surrounding Wonderland’s crown jewel- the magnificently restored 1901 Harrison County Courthouse.
Just a few miles west is the Christmas in the Oil Patch in Kilgore.  Marvel at the majesty of star-topped oil derricks that dot Kilgore’s skyline. You and your family can experience the thrill of sliding down a real snow hill in downtown Kilgore along with train and carriage rides, clowns, and other activities. Cut the family’s Christmas tree at a local tree farm, visit with Santa at the historic seasonally decorated  library Open House, or enjoy the world famous Kilgore College Rangerettes at their showcase museum on the Kilgore College campus.
The Holiday Trail of Lights truly is a unique and magical holiday tour.  It’s sure to warm your heart and give you an unforgettable experience in any of the six cities and two states.  For more information call 888-45-VISIT or visit www.holidaytrailoflights.com.

Holiday Trail of Lights, Christmas cheer radiates throughout the season. This Trail is the only holiday tour of its kind, spanning six cities across two states. For more than two decades - Natchitoches, Shreveport-Bossier, Louisiana and Marshall, Jefferson, and Kilgore, Texas - have been delivering an amazing holiday experience.  Food, fun, and holiday splendor await visitors in each city that is an easy one-hour drive along Interstates 20 and 49. Come experience the Holiday Trail of Lights. You're just six cities and two states away from your most memorable holiday.

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