Magic On Main
12/08/2015 07:53AM ● Published by Aimee Cormier
By Shanna Perkins / Submitted Photos
Sadly, there is only one month out of the year dedicated to the magic of Christmas, but that month is finally here! All of Iberia Parish will be covered in the whimsical light and spirit that Christmas brings. Most visitors and residents recognize Magic on Main as the tour of homes offered by the Shadows-on-the-Teche. While this holiday tour is no longer offered, Iberia has no shortage of holiday happenings. Magic on Main now refers to all Iberia Parish holiday events in New Iberia, Jeanerette, Delcambre and Jefferson Island.
This year’s theme is “Magic on Main has FROZEN over,” so you can follow Elsa to Main Street. Envision da Berry’s Window Wonderland has returned for the third year in a row with mesmerizing holiday window instillations in the storefronts of Main Street, New Iberia. The project began in 2013 with eight artists participating. Today, it features 20 artists from a wide range of backgrounds.
“We invite local artists from all backgrounds – from set design, painting, fashion, graphic design and architecture,” explains Envision da Berry’s Creative Director Phanat Xanamane. “Volunteer groups like the Berry Queens and art students from Epiphany Day Schools have participated in the past and will do so again this year. Artist work with a selected business owner to create a display that highlights a selected holiday theme and any product or service the business may offer. This year’s selected theme will be ‘Magic on Main has FROZEN over,’ which suggest windows with an icy, snowy, wintry theme. Expect to see lots of white and sparkle!”
Each window instillation will include information cards that outline the artist’s concept for the display and their bio. Each card will also have a web address and a QR scan code that will direct users to a survey site where they can vote on their favorite window in categories like Most Magical, Most Artistic and Overall Favorite. The windows will be unveiled at the official ribbon cutting and walk through on Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. in front of the Bayou Teche Museum and will remain up until Dec. 31. The excitement and the magic of the displays are exactly was Phanat intended when he came up with the concept for Window Wonderland.
“The idea for Window Wonderland emerged when I returned to Louisiana in December 2010 after living in New York City for seven years,” he recalls. “Most of the Main Street storefront windows were completely empty. I wanted to see them filled with festive displays so that families would be able to stroll along Main Street during the holidays and have beautiful memories. It’s great to see young children mesmerized by some of the displays and parents lifting their kids up to the windows so they can see all of the details. It’s exciting to see what variety and designs are presented each year.”
Very Berry Christmas Community Quest
The Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Downtown Business Association and Iberia, are hosting a scavenger hunt that will have the entire family on a crazy Christmas crawl through some of New Iberia’s favorite businesses.
“What the event is all about is getting families out and about in the community to experience what New Iberia has to offer,” explains Iberia Chamber of Commerce Treasurer and Very Berry Christmas Community Quest Chairman Shalee Landry. “With the parade being moved to Saturday last year, we saw a great opportunity to have a whole day of fun Christmas events going on around the community.”
The event, sponsored by Iberia On Tap, will be held on Dec. 12 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Registration is available at iberiachamber.org. The day of the scavenger hunt, families will report to the chamber office, 111 W. Main St., where they will receive an elf hat, list of activities going on around town, a Christmas card and a goody bag full of treats a and coupons. At each stop along the way, they’ll receive a sticker on their Christmas card and at the last stop all families who participated in seven activities will be entered into a drawing. Last year, winners had a chance to win one of two $100 American Express gift cards or a gift certificate from Armentor Jewelers.
Last year, 30 businesses or organizations participated in the scavenger hunt and even more have joined the roster this year. The 2014 activities included the Westgate High School chorus singing Christmas songs in front of the Shadows-on-the-Teche. Mini Zumba classes were held at The Gym and participants received a free smoothie shot. Paul Schexnayder let children create homemade Christmas cards at the A&E Gallery. KK’s Café & Cakery offered snacks and cake decorating. Community First Bank allowed everyone to decorate their own piggy bank. Pet Smart featured family photos including the four-legged family members. The Landscape Ranch instructed scavenger hunters how to plant a strawberry and Baskin-Robbins had all of the essentials for writing letters to Santa. Landry says she believes that this event is not only fun for the participating families, but also very beneficial for local businesses.
“It’s so exciting to give all of these businesses a chance to show everyone what they have to offer,” she explains. “A lot of these people wouldn’t normally think to go into some of these places. It really opens up our city, because we can get in the habit of running to chain stores or bigger cities when we’re shopping for the holidays. The chamber is very passionate about shopping local and this event really allows every one to get out and experience local shopping.”
Magic on Main Christmas Parade
After the Window Wonderland ribbon cutting and the Very Berry Christmas Quest, it’s time for the main event – the Magic on Main Christmas Parade. The parade is hosted by the New Iberia Downtown Business Association and is a tradition that has grown and evolved throughout its existence. Director and Organizer Jennifer Toups explains how the parade has become an all-day affair for the entire family.
“The parade has been in existence since 1977,” she explains. “In those days, the parade was held the Monday after Thanksgiving and consisted of local merchants on Main Street who participated in the parade along with a marching band and dance school. Today we have evolved into nearly 13 floats, seven dance schools and close to five school bands marching in the parade. It all happens on the second Saturday in December.”
The day’s activities will begin in Bouligny Plaza with the Farmers Market at 7 a.m. and will end with the parade, beginning at 6 p.m. Being that this year’s theme is “Frozen,” there will be a “Frozen” costume contest. The winners of the contest will be crowned as Elsa, Anna and Olaf and get to ride in the beginning of the parade. There will also be an arts and crafts event where kids will have the opportunity to “build a snowman.”
All of the activities on Dec. 12 might seem like plenty of Christmas cheer, but that’s not nearly enough joy for New Iberia. There are activities and promotions throughout the community for the entire month of December. During the Shop Berry Frozen promotion, various Iberia merchants offer seasonal discounts, special events and promotions.
Some of the most historical homes in the area will be decked to the nines in holiday décor. The Shadows Merry Making Season will take place from Dec. 7-31. The plantation home will be decorated in the style of 19th century holiday décor. Tours will focus on how families celebrated the holidays in the 19th century. The Joseph Jefferson Home will be decorated from Dec. 1-Jan. 5 for the Victorian Christmas at the Joseph Jefferson Home & Rip Van Winkle Gardens.
No holiday itinerary is complete without an opportunity to see the man himself – Santa Claus will be the most popular man in Iberia Parish this December. You can catch him on Dec. 5 at the Delcambre Seafood and Farmers Market, Dec. 6 at the Jeanerette Christmas Parade, Dec. 12 at both Cajun RVera and the Delcambre Christmas Boat Parade and Dec. 13 at the Delcambre Main Street Christmas Parade.