City girl’s guide to the jungle: NOLA ChristmasFest

Editor’s Note: To get you in the holiday spirit, we will be running holiday articles up until the big days! Here we have Sarah Isabelle Prevot’s take on how to make ChristmasFest, which opens on December 20, all the best. 

Skating rink at Nola Christmas Fest (photos by: Sarah Isabelle Prevot)

NOLA ChristmasFest made the perfect excuse to grab my girlfriend and set off to a winter wonderland. As the doors opened, an ice princess welcomed us with the gesture of her arm to a lush red forest floor adorned with glittering northern fur trees, each uniquely embellished and trimmed with a New Orleans’ theme. I gleamed at the Mardi Gras tree thinking, ‘Yay, Fat Tuesday is less than fifty days away!’

Nola ChristmasFest is geared toward children, and since my friend and I are both well past childhood, we decided to disconnect from the inhibitions that come with adulthood and reconnect with our inner child. We slid down ice slides in huge inner tubes that I thought were only used during the summer for tubing down the river.

Moments after stepping into the ice skating rink, I instinctively burst out, “Southern’s don’t skate!”

After my death defining first lap around, a young girl asked me if I was the one who just shouted out. I blushed as she beamed at her friend for accurately pinpointing me; I was caught being self-conscious. And as if I had transported back to my eight-year-old self, I reached out for guidance. Easing my fears, the young girl grabbed my hand, instructed me to “stand up straight” ( I knew I was looking a little too hunched over like the witch from Hansel and Gretel), and “glide side-to-side.” I hung in there long enough to envision myself as one of the sugar-plums dancing in my head.

All that physical exertion made us thirsty and staying true to the New Orleans spirit, adult spirits were right around the corner. I indulged with a Cajun eggnog daiquiri while we took a rest at the lounge overlooking the other souls attempting their best chassé. My friend and I took that time to catch up, and NOLA ChristmasFest provided a light-hearted overtone to what has been a heavy year. Surrounded by the din of youthful reverberation and the sight of humongous inflatables, I felt like I could have been in a Tim Burton movie. We walked through a life-size gingerbread house, rode carnival rides, and got lost in the penguin parade maze.

The Ice Princess of Nola Christmas Fest (photos by: Sarah Isabelle Prevot)

And as we exited past the old-school TV projecting the quintessential Charlie Brown’s Christmas, we giggled at ourselves and briefly once again saw life through a child’s eye; but, not before contributing our own voice to New Orleans’ 300th Birthday narrative initiative, “One Time In New Orleans.”

Running through the 31st of December, you only have a couple more days to grab your girlfriend and experience a winter wonderland that takes you beyond your physical limitations into your childhood imagination.

CGGJ Tip of the Season: Saving ($5.00 off ticket price when you bring an empty coke can or bottle) equals giving (Son of a Saint, $5.00 raffel for a chance to win an all inclusive tropical vacation to Dominican Republic). 



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