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Tips for attending the Natchitoches Christmas Festival

Bringing+a+fanny+pack+to+the+Christmas+Festival+is+an+easier+way+to+keep+your+valuables+close+and+avoid+losing+personal+items.
Lia Portillo Cantarero
Bringing a fanny pack to the Christmas Festival is an easier way to keep your valuables close and avoid losing personal items.

As the famous Christmas song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” The streets of Natchitoches are aglow with Christmas lights, and historic Front Street is abuzz with activity during the Christmas Festival. As a first-year, transfer or international student, the first Christmas Festival experience can be both exciting and daunting.

Here are some tips for a safe and enjoyable Christmas Festival experience.

First and foremost, have fun! There are a variety of events taking place during the Christmas Festival season, such as the Light the Way 5K on Nov. 19 and the Mistletoe Market on Dec. 2. There will also be live musicians on the Riverfront on Friday and Saturday nights, food trucks available seven days a week and fireworks on Saturday nights at 7 p.m.

Speaking of fireworks, be sure to arrive early to the Riverfront so you can get a good spot for the fireworks show. No one likes having the view of a fireworks show blocked or partially obscured because they weren’t able to get a spot in time. It is definitely recommended to get a spot directly on the Riverfront.

While you’re enjoying these festive events, it is important to dress warmly. Just because Louisiana weather is mostly hot or warm doesn’t mean the weather won’t change on a dime. Check the weather on your weather app and layer accordingly.

On a more serious note, drunk driving tends to increase during the Christmas Festival season. Your idea of celebrating the festive season may be drinking a nice eggnog from Maggio’s. However, if you do intend to celebrate by drinking, make sure to have someone in your group serve as a designated driver.

Amy Ables, an alumna of Northwestern State University of Louisiana who currently works as a family nurse practitioner, shared words of wisdom to that same effect.

“If you are planning on drinking or participating in other recreational activities, do so wisely, and always have a DD (designated driver). No one wants to call your parents after you have been involved in a preventable accident,” Ables said.

Given that the traffic situation on Christmas Festival day can be hectic due to both downtown bridges being closed (as John Dunn, associate professor of fine arts, can attest) walking is usually the preferred way to get to the festivities. Safety in numbers sounds cliche, but going downtown with a group is a much safer way to enjoy the Festival.

Mikalee Sawyer, a senior psychology major, said that if you do intend to drive, it is important to always park in well-lit areas. She also said that leaving before or during the fireworks show is an efficient way to avoid break-ins.

“Always park in a well-lit area and try to leave before or during the fireworks show. That’s usually when the break-ins tend to happen because everyone is focused on the fireworks and nothing can be heard over the fireworks,” Sawyer said.

With the Christmas Festival comes break-ins to vehicles and people stealing valuables from others. Therefore, it is extremely important to be careful what you bring to the Festival.

One piece of advice shared by Catrice Ellis, a sophomore social work major, was to bring a fanny pack to put your valuables in as opposed to bringing a large bag that someone could easily reach into and steal from.

“Do not bring a purse. If you need to bring personal items, get a fanny pack,” Ellis said.

However you choose to celebrate the festive season, the Christmas Festival provides people the opportunity to get out into the Natchitoches community and spend quality time with family and friends. Safety and awareness of your surroundings is also an extremely important factor in enjoying your Natchitoches Christmas Festival experience.

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About the Contributors
Mary Fletcher, Current Sauce - Contributing Writer
Lia Portillo Cantarero, Current Sauce - Editor-in-Chief
Lia Portillo Cantarero is a junior communication major. This is her third year in The Current Sauce and as Editor-in-Chief she hopes to raise awareness around the stories that are happening in the campus community. For Lia, becoming the Editor-in-Chief has been a dream and she is honored to carry the legacy of The Current Sauce forward.

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