The City of Lake Charles is getting ready for the Christmas holiday and the cities annual Light Up The Lake Christmas Festival. Mayor Roach says we are starting early and one of the main reasons, is because the city has hundreds of displays and thousands of lights to install.  This is a huge undertaking and as the festival gets bigger and better, there's more Christmas decorations to put up.  The Mayor explained it takes city crews nearly four weeks to get the job done adding,  “Lake Charles’ Christmas festivities and lights now compete with Lafayette, Natchitoches and other areas for tourism and its connected economic impact.

The first lights to be lit will be the ones along the lakefront, right after Thanksgiving.  Then Saturday December 3, 2016 get ready for a spectacular show of lights and displays when the annual Light Up The Lake Christmas Festival officially gets underway.

The schedule of events is as follows:

The Gingerbread House Contest begins at 12 noon. Judging will be based on theme, originality and construction.  Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be presented by Gumbeaux Gator and it all takes place at the Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau Welcome Center.

The Christmas Parade starts off at 1 p.m.  Gather along the street and welcome Santa to the city.  His journey begins from Mill Street, to south on Ryan, and ends on Michael Debakey Drive.

Immediately following the parade, bring your tiny tots to the Civic Center for Santa's Workshop.  It will take place from 2-5 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall.  Kids ages 6-12 can do fun holiday arts & crafts, join in reindeer games to win prizes and gifts in the Coliseum. The family Christmas event will also include food vendors, plenty of activities, storytelling, music and much more.

At 3:30 p.m. get into the holiday spirit at the Community Band Christmas Concert on the second-floor in Mezzanine. As the Lighting Ceremony draws near get a good spot outside to take it all in.  Gather around the Civic Center front lawn at 5 p.m. for live entertainment and the flipping of the switch at 6 p.m.  Then head to the lakefront to catch trinkets and candy at the Lighted Boat Parade that begins at 6:30 p.m.  To round off a perfect evening don't miss the grand finale at 7:15 p.m. with a Fireworks Extravaganza.

The is a free event for all to enjoy.  Food vendors will be set up outside along the lakefront during all the festivities as well.  Light Up The Lake Christmas Festival is being sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau, Entergy and Lake Charles Toyota. For more info or entry forms contact the City of Lake Charles at 337-491-9159,

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