This time of year, when people think of holidays, it’s not yet Mardi Gras that’s on their minds. But in Minden, LA, Carnival season starts in November, thanks to the town’s German heritage. In Germany, “Fasching” (also called “Karneval”) officially begins on November 11 at 11:11 am and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
This Saturday, November 21, Minden will be hosting their “Fasching Fifth Season” celebration in their historic downtown district, which will be all decked out for the holidays. This charming city in the piney woods area of northwest Louisiana is well-suited to host such an event because the town is very proud of its German heritage. (Minden was founded in 1835 by German-American Charles Hans Veeder and named for the home of his ancestors in Germany.)
So, what is a Fasching celebration like? Think “Mardi Gras meets Oktoberfest meets Christmas festival”! As you make your way along their renowned red-bricked Main Street you’ll see people dressed in authentic German costumes strolling side by side with the locals and the welcomed guests, enjoying the wide variety of live music (including German oom-pah bands), the arts and crafts, the many different types of vendors, the carnival and, needless to say, the beer gardens offering all of the fabulous German delicacies. Decorations include more than one hundred German nutcrackers in every shape and size.
Young ones will have lots of things to enjoy, too, including clowns, face painting, a petting zoo, and getting to spend time with Weihnachtsmann himself! For my non-German readers, Weihnachtsmann is a jolly old man with a white beard and a red suit who brings gifts to all the good children on Christmas Eve. You may know him by his other name, Santa Claus!
While you’re there, I suggest exploring the town a bit. Tours of Minden’s historic landmarks, galleries, and museums will be offered, including the Germantown Colony Museum, with its fascinating artifacts, exhibits and original buildings and relics.
The Fasching festival ends with a bang! Make sure you stay for the dazzling fireworks display at dusk, and to see all of the holiday lights and decorations adorning the town once the sun goes down. In fact, Minden is one of the towns on Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights, a group of nearby cities that light up the night with brilliant light displays.
The Minden Fasching celebration is a wonderful way to spend the day; not only will you be entertained and have a ball, you’ll get to experience the friendly and historic town of Minden and learn about its German heritage. On top of that, it’s a surefire way to get yourself into the holiday spirit!