Words by Paige Townley
The Louisiana Northshore is comprised of numerous communities, each one as beautiful and historic as the next. While the area is an ideal destination any time of year, there’s no better time than the holidays to explore everything the Northshore has to offer. Here are our top five ways to be merry on the Louisiana Northshore this year.
Christmas Light Displays
Gazing at Christmas lights is a holiday tradition, and that certainly applies on the Louisiana Northshore. From quaint city streets to the parks of St. Tammany Parish, there’s twinkling lights galore for everyone to enjoy.
The city of Slidell and Keep Slidell Beautiful will be hosting Christmas lights on Front Street, a month-long nightly dazzling display of holiday lights that are lining Front Street in Olde Towne Slidell. Also in Slidell is the 33rd Annual Christmas Under the Stars, to be held December 3-11. The week-long event features twinkling lights, festive decorations, and life-size Christmas cottages. Mandeville is holding a drive-through lights display with the 22nd Annual Holiday of Lights. The display is being held every weekend between December 3 and 25 and then again on Christmas Eve and Christmas night. The 12 Days of Christmas is being hosted in historic downtown Covington from December 10 through January 6 and includes lighted displays depicting each day of the classic Christmas carol. The final—and shortest—Christmas light display this year will be Slidell’s Bayou Christmas. From December 17 through 19, the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana will be hosting its annual holiday fundraiser in Heritage Park.
It’s not Christmas until Santa Claus is seen, and there are a few spots across the Louisiana Northshore to do just that this holiday season. Mandeville’s Winterland at the Shops, which is being held December 10 through 12, is a prime opportunity to snap a few selfies with Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. Santa will be hopping on over to Slidell for the weekend (December 17 through 19) to spend some time in Heritage Park at Slidell’s Bayou Christmas. Kids young and old can enjoy a meal with Santa at Pelican Park’s Breakfast with Santa (reservations are required), before Santa visits Mandeville’s lakefront with the Winter on the Water Santa & Boat Parades. For anyone looking to see Mrs. Claus too, Santa will be bringing her along for Santa’s Workshop at the Madisonville Park & Playground on December 5 before hopping over to Slidell City Hall to participate in the annual lighting of the trees.
Boat, Wagon & Stroll Parades
Parades are always the perfect addition to the holiday festivities, and this year that excitement can be found at the unique Northshore Christmas parade. On Saturday, December 4, Mandeville is hosting Winter on the Water’s Santa and Boat Parades on the lakefront. The fun continues to the next day at the Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade and Merry Madisonville along the Tchefuncte Riverfront. December 11 the place to be is in the heart of St. Tammany’s horse country for the Folsom Horse & Wagon Christmas Parade.
The Northshore has a lot going on, but there’s plenty of time between events to enjoy the season while shopping. The 38th Annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo, held December 3 through 5 at the Covington Fairgrounds, offers one-of-a-kind handmade gifts, as does the Shop Local Artists Week on December 5 through 11. Local farmers’ and makers’ markets are also a top spot to find those perfect gifts this year. The area will be holding numerous markets leading up to Christmas, including Madisonville Market, Mandeville Trailhead Holiday Market, Abita Springs’ Fete de Noel Night Market, and Covington’s Holiday Festival of Arts.
Tour Historic Covington
Charm abounds in historic Covington, and there’s no better time to explore the area than the holidays. Sightseeing is made easy thanks to Royal Carriages, which offers New Orleans-style carriage tours. Those looking to see inside some of the architecturally beautiful homes to check out interior design will enjoy the History and Holly Tour of Homes on December 5.
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