‘Benton Christmas on the Square’ is Saturday

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The 14th annual Benton Christmas on the Square festival will be taking the community on a journey around the world Saturday.

More than 80 vendors are slated to operate booths during the biggest holiday celebration in Bossier Parish. The community-wide event features free activities for children, shopping booths, food vendors and an afternoon parade through the streets of Benton.

Back again this year will be Collier’s stock cars, bringing more cars than ever before. There will also be a rock wall, inflatable bounce houses, pony rides and a zip line.

Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. followed by the Dash around the Square 5k and one mile fun run. The children’s area, which is full on free activities, will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with crowd favorites like face painting and the cow train.

Live entertainment, arts and craft vendors as well as a gift market place will fill the historic Heritage Village square. Then crowds will line the streets, hoping to grab some candy and throws as the floats pass by during the 3 p.m. parade.

Jill Lucero, parade chairman, said they are anticipating 75 entries in this year’s festival parade, ranging from marching bands to mobile units and floats decorated with the “Christmas around the world” theme.

Lucero said the parade, sponsored by the Benton Rotary Club, is free to enter and free to attend.

“This is our way of giving back to the community for everything they do,” she said. “Everyone knows someone in the parade and that always makes it fun.

Grand marshals for the parade will be Mike and Sarah Collier, Benton business owners, and special guests Erin McCarty and Robert J. Wright, local radio personalities from 96.5 KVKI.

Lucero hopes the new events and larger parade lineup will attract a bigger crowd, making this year the best Christmas festival yet.

“It’s the only event of its kind in Bossier,” she said. “It’s going to be a down home, family fun day for everyone.”

Lucero invites everyone to come out, bring a bag to hold all the candy and throws and experience the magic of Christmas around the world right here in Bossier Parish.

“Be sure to check the weather and dress accordingly. We will roll rain or shine.”

The 14th annual Benton Christmas on the Square festival will be Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Event parking is free and a free shuttle service will run from the Bossier Parish Court House on Burt Blvd. from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

Amission to the festival is free and events will take place rain or shine.

Those who would like to sign up as a marching unit or float in the parade should contact Jill Lucero at (318) 230-6956. For more information on the festival or to see a complete schedule of events, visit www.bentonchristmasonthesquare.com.