Magic On Main
12/02/2016 07:00AM ● Published by Robert Frey
Gallery: Magic on Main [2 Images] Click any image to expand.
By Wynce Nolley
That special time of year has rolled around again as the magic of the Christmas season descends upon Iberia Parish and, along with it, is New Iberia’s popular annual holiday celebration Magic on Main. Many visitors and residents may remember Magic on Main as the beautiful tour of homes sponsored by Shadows-on-the-Teche, but it has now expanded to feature a myriad of winter wonder for the whole family across Iberia Parish including parades, scavenger hunts, holiday shops and Santa sightings running throughout the holiday season.
New Iberia’s Historic Main Street will once again be hosting Envision da Berry’s “Window Wonderland” from Nov. 28 - Dec. 31 where storefront windows will display festive holiday themed decor in the style of New York City department store windows like Bergdorf Goodman or Bloomingdale’s.
“We basically try to bring together local artists to collaborate with local businesses to create these fabulous window displays up and down Main Street in New Iberia and attract local tourism and also local commerce downtown,” says Envision da Berry’s Creative Director Phanat Xanamane.
Now in its fourth year, the Window Wonderland display will feature nearly 40 artists and volunteers decorating more than 25 storefront windows with this year’s decorative theme being The Nutcracker on the Bayou.
“The format this year will basically follow the theme from the classic Tchaikovsky ballet,” says Xanamane. “It will follow those scenes in sequence, so as you’re walking through the streets of New Iberia, you’ll sort of experience the entire ballet through the windows. And so, you’ll have the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Land of Sweets and all of those different scenes throughout it.”
Each window installation will include information cards that outline the artist’s concept for the display and their bio.
wwXanamane says he originally came up with the idea for Window Wonderland after he returned to Louisiana after living for several years in New York City, which is famous for its festive holiday themed window displays.
Very Berry Christmas Quest
The Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with local businesses and the Iberia Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau, is hosting a family-friendly scavenger hunt to celebrate the Christmas season by sending the whole family on a bona-fide adventure through some of New Iberia’s favorite businesses.
“It’s just a fun event where kids come in and they get a hat and they get a goodie bag and then they get a map and they go around town to the different places and they collect the stickers and then they get to do the activities at each individual business,” explains Terry Dugas with the Iberia Chamber of Commerce.
The event, sponsored by Iberia on Tap and Armentor Jewelers, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., in tandem with the Magic on Main Christmas Parade. Families will pick up a list of activities going on around town along with a Christmas hat, a Christmas card and goody bags filled with coupons and holiday treats at the chamber’s office, located at 111 W. Main St., in Downtown New Iberia. Registration is available at IberiaChamber.org.
At each stop they make along the way, families will receive a sticker on their Christmas card and at the final stop all families who participated in seven activities will be entered into a drawing.
They will also be given punch cards, which track the activities they participate in throughout the day. Completed cards will be entered in a drawing to win prizes including gift cards from local businesses participating in the Very Berry Christmas Quest.
This event has quickly become a holiday favorite for families in New Iberia and has been very beneficial for local businesses. Over the years, more than 30 businesses and organizations have taken part in the scavenger hunt and have offered activities such as the local high school chorus singing Christmas songs in front of the Shadows-on-the-Teche; Mini Zumba classes held at The Gym; children creating homemade Christmas cards at the A&E Gallery; KK’s Café & Cakery offering snacks and cake decorating; Community First Bank allowing everyone to decorate their own piggy banks; Pet Smart featuring family photos with four-legged members; the Landscape Ranch instructing scavenger hunters how to plant a strawberry; and Baskin-Robbins offering all of the essentials for writing letters to Santa.
Magic on Main Parade
The main attraction will be the Magic on Main Christmas Parade held on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Downtown New Iberia where holiday goers can enjoy events throughout the day starting at 7 a.m.
After the Very Berry Christmas Quest, it’s time for the main event – the Magic on Main Christmas Parade taking place on Saturday Dec. 10, which is hosted by the New Iberia Downtown Business Association as a tradition that has grown and evolved throughout its existence.
The day’s activities officially begin in Bouligny Plaza with the Farmers Market at 7 a.m. and will end with the parade, beginning at 6 p.m. The day is full of Christmas themed events including a Christmas-themed breakfast, craft vendors, food trucks, musical performances and lighting of the Community Christmas Tree. There will also be a cutest PJ contest where winners will ride in the parade with Santa on his float.
While many of the holiday activities take place on Dec. 10, there is still plenty of Christmas cheer to go around in New Iberia. For instance, there are activities, promotions and even more events going on throughout the community aimed at making this holiday season one to remember.
During the Shop Berry Frozen promotion, various Iberia merchants will offer seasonal discounts, special events and promotions during the Magic on Main holiday season taking place all month long. Offers will be tagged #ShopBerryFrozen and posted on IberiaTravel’s Facebook, Twitter and IberiaTravel.com/Holiday-Shopping.
The Joseph Jefferson Home will be decorated for the holidays allowing guests to travel to the Victorian Era as they tour the house at Jefferson Island Rip Van Winkle Gardens from Nov. 28 through Jan. 7.
Beginning Monday, Dec. 5, Shadows-on-the-Teche will be celebrating in a similar fashion with “merry making” tours as the plantation home will be decorated in 19th century holiday style with tours that will focus on how families celebrated the holidays during the 19th century. Some of the most historical homes in the area will also be dressed in holiday décor. The Shadows Merry Making Season will take place from Dec. 5 - 31.
The Iberia Performing Arts League will perform its take on the immortal Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol.” This fresh approach to the classic tale introduces us to Charles Dickens, his family and some of his friends as they, themselves, perform the classic tale for a Christmas Eve entertainment with each of the play’s 10 cast members playing multiple roles. Performances will run Dec. 1 - 11 from Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Essanee Theatre, located at 126 Iberia St. in Downtown New Iberia.
No holiday itinerary is complete without an opportunity to see the big man himself, Santa Claus, who is easily the most popular man in Iberia Parish this season. Santa will be making his holiday debut in Iberia Parish at the Delcambre Christmas Boat Parade on Dec. 3, with several special appearances on Dec. 4 at the Jeanerette Christmas Parade, and Dec. 11 at the Delcambre Main Street Christmas Parade.