Taste of French Settlement

Pictured is Rev. Jason Palermo’s miniature Christmas Village, a now-legendary yearly attraction that includes New York City, Disney World, London and other famous landmarks. The Christmas Village contains more than 700 individual pieces.

FRENCH SETTLEMENT -- Mouth-watering entrées, sweet-tasting desserts, a light parade at night, and a dazzling Christmas Village display are on the agenda for St. Joseph Catholic Church’s “Winter Wonderland Food Festival - A Taste of French Settlement” on Sunday, Dec. 8.

The local holiday tradition, now in its 11th year, will be held from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 15710 La. Highway 16 in French Settlement.

The food line will make its return during the event, and this year’s menu will include a wide selection of local favorites such as chicken and andouille gumbo, seafood gumbo, pistolettes, fried fish, jambalaya, chicken tenders, hamburgers and more.

There will also be a Sweet Shop with a large selection of homemade candy, cookies, cakes and soft serve ice cream treats, as well as craft booths with local artists and vendors selling paintings, jewelry, wreaths, sports memorabilia, gift baskets, wood work and more.

Perhaps the biggest draw will be Father Jason Palermo’s Christmas Village, an elaborate model train display that he began in 1991. The village occupies a 28-foot-by-40-foot room on the church grounds and contains miniature versions of New York City, Walt Disney World, and London.

Nearly three decades after starting with a schoolhouse and a church, Palermo’s own Christmas Village has grown to more than 700 individual pieces collected from all over the world, all powered by more than a mile’s worth of electrical wiring that takes more than a week to assemble.

The collection contains Dept. 56, Lemax, and Mr. Christmas pieces, several trains and trolleys, as well as houses and other landmarks made by Palermo and his mother Yvonne Palermo in mixed media. Other attention-getters include Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Hollywood Tower, the Statue of Liberty, and London’s Big Ben clock tower, among other popular sights.

Tours of Palermo’s Christmas Village are free.

The festival, which has been one of St. Joseph’s biggest fundraisers for more than a decade, will include hayrides for children, music, door prizes, a classic car and truck show, and a light parade starting at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, call St. Joseph Catholic Church at (225) 698-3110.

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