“The most wonderful time of the year” becomes the most busy time of the year as South Louisiana celebrates in grand style. And we have a bit of lagniappe to keep you on your toes (check out the end).
Head out to St. James Parish upriver from New Orleans and enjoy a weekend of traditions at the FESTIVAL OF THE BONFIRES in Lutcher Friday to Sunday. Traditionally, the bonfires that line the Mississippi River levee are burned on Christmas Eve, but the festival celebrates in advance, with one fire lighted each night of the fest. Enjoy food, music, carnival rides, pageants, crafts and much more at Lutcher Recreational Park, 2545 Louisiana Ave. Check out the fire, food and fun here.
There’s no place like the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts to be “HOME ALONE” IN CONCERT when the LPO performs John Williams’ score live during the showing of the holiday film celebrating its 30th anniversary. Constantine Kitsopoulos conducts the orchestra and is joined by the Newman School choir, directed by Anthony Sears. Two chances are available: Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. at 1419 Basin St. in Armstrong Park, New Orleans. Tickets start at $25. See what Kevin gets into here.
A holiday peek inside some fashionable addresses is the reason of the season for the PRC HOLIDAY HOME TOUR Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Six private residences, plus a bonus tour of the main building at the Louise S. McGehee School at 2343 Pryatania St. in New Orleans’ Garden District are all within walking distance. McGehee is also the spot for the boutique and holiday book fest, an addition this year with local writers discussing their works and a chance to grab goodies for holiday giving. Tour headquarters is The Rink, 2727 Prytania St. Tickets start at $40. Get tips on the tour here.
Just in the “nick” of time comes the French Market’s SAINT NICK CELEBRATION Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the French Quarter, with music, activities for kids and a St. Nick second-line. Start the fun with an African drum and dance presentation by the Jazz National Historical Park, Johnette Downing, Bamzy Baby Productions, the Arrowhead Jazz Band and more. The second-line starts at Oscar Dunn Park, 700 Decatur St., and heads to the market.
Get out your track shoes and your Santa hat for Saturday’s RUNNING OF THE SANTAS, a holiday-themed pub crawl through the CBD starting at 2 p.m. The “frigid fun” begins at the South Pole (Mannings, 519 Fulton St.) with a party, music and a costume contest. At 6 p.m. the slew of St. Nicks will head over to Lafayette and South Peters streets, then meander to the North Pole (Generations Hall, 310 Andrew Higgins Blvd.) for Flow Tribe and Mannie Fresh. “That Others May Live” Foundation is the beneficiary for the day. Tickets start at $25. Crawl on over here for the details.
Lake Pontchartrain is the location for a day of holiday fun Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. for LIGHTS ON THE LAKE at the New Canal Lighthouse, 8001 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans. A fundraiser for the Pontchartrain Conservancy, the day includes food trucks, refreshments, kids crafts and pictures with Santa for $5 admission. The West End Boat Parade sets sail at 5:30 p.m. with an illuminated flotilla in festive finery. Parking will be available at the Robert Shopping Center at 135 Allen Toussaint Blvd. with free shuttle service. Check it out here.
Harp, the mocktail demos sling! “CAROLS, COOKIES, COCOA AND MOCKTAILS” is a holiday celebration Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the West Bank Regional Library featuring the sounds of Patrice Fisher with Apra, a beverage demonstration and tasting by Liz Williams of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum plus fun things for the younger set and teens. And don’t forget storytime at 3 p.m. The library is located at 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey. Get in on the fun here.
Need to put a little horror in your holiday? Head over to The Broadside, 600 N. Broad St., New Orleans, Sunday at 5:30 p.m. for KRAMPUS NACHT movie event, a benefit for Save Our Cemeteries, which has partnered with the Krewe of Krampus. The centerpiece of the evening is the 2015 film “Krampus” at 7 p.m. but the fun gets rolling with Shark Attack!!, the surf-rock band. A photo booth, holiday market, food trucks and cash bar will also be found. Tickets start at $10. Tune in here for tickets.
Have a hoppy, jolly holiday, care of the NOLA Project Sunday at 6 p.m. for “SEASONS READINGS: CA-BEER-ET,” a fun evening of fundraising featuring performances (songs and sounds) by a number of project peeps, including Keith and Leslie Claverie, Whitney Mixon, Meredith Owens, Alex Martinez Wallace, Brittany N. Williams and more. There’s also pizza and brewskies. It all comes to a head at NOLA Brewing Company, 3001 Tchoupitoulas St. Admission is free but donations to the Year-End Campaign are encouraged. Sip and see more here.
Nothing says holiday happiness like A JOHN WATER CHRISTMAS when the entertainer hits the stage at the Civic Theatre Sunday at 7:30 p.m., 510 O’Keefe Ave., New Orleans. “Ready to reinfect the lunatic fringe with holiday jeer,” Waters brings his unique view of life and holidays to his show with political incorrectness, “manger danger,” and “a raging new critical theory that no PTA can ever stop.” Fa la la! Tickets start at $35. The fun times are going fast here.
Feeling the need for a bit of dancing mice, sugarplums and maybe a twinkle-toed snowflake or two? Don’t forget the host of productions of “THE NUTCRACKER” in various incarnations around the metro area, including “Jazz Nutcracker” at Marigny Opera House Friday to Sunday, New Orleans Ballet Theatre’s production at the Orpheum Theater Saturday and Sunday, and Ballet Apetrei’s performance at Fuhrmann Auditorium in Covington Saturday and Sunday.