DENHAM SPRINGS -- Santa’s Winter Wonderland is back.

After Christmas caroling, a parade and a ballet, Good Ol’ Saint Nick got the holiday season kicked off at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Denham Springs with the lighting of the Christmas tree on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Patrons of one of Livingston Parish’s most visible companies, located just off I-12 at the Denham Springs exit, arrived a little before 4:30 p.m. and were treated to free hot chocolate and cookies to start.

Once a hundred or so people had gathered in front of Bass Pro, the Central High School choir performed 10 Christmas songs to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Many people sang along.

There was a parade once the Central High choir finished, starting with the marching in of U.S. Marines in honor of Veteran’s Day. People wave their miniature American flags as veterans walked by.

The Tri-Parish Ballet, comprised of dancers from the Livingston, East Baton Rouge and Ascension parishes, then took center stage and gave a condensed performance of “The Nutcracker.”

But everything gave way once Santa arrived to Bass Pro on a tracker boat.

Father Christmas tossed out free gifts to people in the crowd, posed for pictures with a few admirers and shouted out a chorus “Ho, Ho, Hos!” before heading inside to light the giant Christmas tree in the front lobby.

Once the tree was lit, Santa took his seat in his Winter Wonderland to take pictures with anxious kids ready to tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

Santa will be available for free photos at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Denham Springs throughout the next two months, as well as free crafts for children.

Here’s his schedule for the month of November:

Nov. 12: noon-5 p.m. (free craft noon-5 p.m.)

Nov. 13-17: 5-8 p.m. (free craft 5-7 p.m.)

Nov. 18: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free craft noon-5 p.m.)

Nov. 19: noon-5 p.m. (free craft noon-5 p.m.)

Nov. 20-22: 5-8 p.m. (free craft 5-7 p.m.)

Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving): 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free craft 3-5 p.m.)

Nov. 24: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free craft 5-7 p.m.)

Nov. 25: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free craft noon-5 p.m.)

Nov. 26: noon-5 p.m. (free craft noon-5 p.m.)

Nov. 27-Dec. 1: 5-8 p.m. (free craft 5-7 p.m.)

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