The town of Benton is gearing up for the biggest holiday celebration in Bossier Parish.
The 17th annual Benton Christmas on the Square festival will be held Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The festival, which will take place rain or shine, includes free activities for children, shopping booths, food vendors, demonstrations, an afternoon parade through the streets of Benton and much more.
This year’s theme is “Wise men still seek Him.” Dawn Bushnell, longtime festival volunteer, said they work hard every year to bring in a variety of vendors and activities that will appeal to all audiences.
“We want people to come, shop and have a good time,” Bushnell said. “We want people to see that we’re more than just a parade. We have a full day of events and entertainment lined up for all ages to enjoy. Bring your family and spend the day with us.”
Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. followed by the Dash around the Square 5k and one mile fun run. Registration fee is $20 until December 9th and $25 on race day. Kids 1 mile Fun Run (kids 10 under!) is $15 until December 9th and $20 on race day. Online registration can be completed at www.sportspectrumusa.com.
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 the cow train. New this year will be character appearances by Bella Princess Company and a mechanical swing ride in addition to the mechanical pirate ship ride.
Live entertainment, arts and craft vendors as well as a gift market place will fill the historic Heritage Village square. There’s also a student art contest, a classic car show, and photos with Santa.
Vendors from near and far will be set up on festival day, offering a variety of handmade items and home cooked goods. Lori Lindsey of Lori’s Custom Creations will be bringing beautiful custom animal art on canvas. Wreathing Havoc LA will have wreaths for all occasions for sale.
Other vendors include Southern Charm Gifts & Boutique, Bearberry Farms, Geaux Bubbles, and many more.
A highlight of any festival is the food. Kettle Queen Kettle Korn will be serving multiple flavors of their signature Kettle Korn, frito pies, hot cocoa, lemonade and iced tea. Abby’s Special Dips will be bringing their prepackaged dip mixes. Gradys Smokehouse B-B-Q will be serving up chopped beef b-b-q sandwiches. Also, the Some Like It Hot food truck will be joining the festival this year.
Crowds will line the streets, hoping to grab some candy and throws as the floats pass by, during the 3 p.m. parade. Marching and riding units include local performance groups, churches, marching bands and public officials.
Parking is limited at the festival site. Free parking and a shuttle to the festival is available at the Bossier Parish Court House. Simply park at the courthouse on Burt Boulevard, hop on a bus and ride to a designated drop-off location near the festival site.
For more information, visit www.bentonchristmasonthesquare.com or check out their Facebook page.