Festival of Lights in downtown Baton Rouge on Friday: 4 things to know

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It’s fun, free and the perfect way to kick off the holidays. The Baton Rouge Downtown Festival takes place Friday from 4 pm to 8 pm. They have a lot to offer, so these four things will give you some direction.

light up: The city’s 25-foot Christmas tree on Northern Boulevard will be lit with half a million twinkling lights, followed by a fireworks display over the Mississippi River.

The countdown with Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will begin at 6:20 p.m. The best place to watch is in the town square facing the Christmas tree and the river.

where is santa After helping with the tree count, old St. Nick and Mrs. Claus will head to Louisiana’s Old State Capitol, 100 North Blvd., for special photos and other holiday festivities. This “Santa at the Senate” event, an annual tradition, is from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

There will be a Christmas movie screening in the Old House Chamber, arts and crafts for kids to participate in, and a special treat as you leave the building.

Get in the snow! Families can play on 10 tons of real snow in the town square across from the River Center Branch Library. Additionally, a Rockefeller Center-style skating rink will be developed on the first floor of River Center Plaza.

“Just like in NYC, festival-goers can stand on the balcony and look down on kids skating on the plaza,” says the Downtown Development District. Note: Ice Village starts at 5 p.m. and skating starts at 4 p.m.; both activities are ages 5-15 only.

Find wisdom. The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge presents an Artists’ Village on the Rhoer Plaza Lawn. More than a dozen local artists will be selling handmade crafts.

The festival will include a bake sale, hot chocolate and several food vendors.

For more information, visit downtownbatonrouge.org/discover-downtown/events.

– Judy Bergeron

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