Visiting the third largest city of Louisiana has its perks. Every year there are many different events that coincide with common vacation periods. When you’re planning your next vacation to Louisiana, try to plan it so that you have a chance to attend some of the following major events.

1. Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras parades in Shreveport are among the finest in the country. This annual tradition began in the 1800s in the same fashion as the infamous New Orleans Mardi Gras events. While they were cancelled during the first World War and had multiple failed revivals afterwards, it has been a successful annual event since 1984. Mardi Gras parades take place on several weekends between January and March, and offer the typical activities that come along with them like eating, costumes and entertainment. Note that this event is not family friendly, so leave the kids at home.

2. Independence Bowl

There are few events in America bigger than College bowl games for football fans. Louisiana is known for its high level of football talent, which makes it the perfect host for the Independence Bowl. The game is one of the most watched bowl games in the country and features an amazing atmosphere inside the appropriately named Independence Stadium.

3. Louisiana Film Prize

One of the newest and most exciting annual events in Shreveport for film lovers is the Louisiana Film Prize. This contest attracts short film submissions from filmmakers across the country that compete for the $50,000 prize, one of the largest prizes and incentives of contests across the world. If you appreciate short films, you will love this festival. Watch anywhere from one to twenty short films that range from five to fifteen minutes and stick around to see if the judges chose your favorite as the winner. This festival has historically taken place from October 3-5, making it perfect for your Fall vacation.

4. Holiday Trail of Lights

holiday trail of lights

Image via Flickr by Shreveport-Bossier

One of the most well-known festivals across Northwest Louisiana is the Holiday Trail of Lights. Shreveport is just one of the six cities that host events for the festival, so if you’re really ambitious you could visit more than one. Other cities include: Bossier City, Minden, Alexandria-Pineville, Natchitoches, and Monroe-West Monroe. There are typically amazing fireworks and laser shows, along with great food and Christmas related events like parades. This festival takes place near the end of the year. The festivals run from mid-November to early-January depending on the specific city.

5. The Highland Jazz & Blue Festival

There are many great events in the Fall, like this annual Jazz & Blues festival on the second Saturday in November. It’s held in the beautiful city park and offers great music and art. It is free to visit and a great event for families.

Shreveport is no ordinary city and offers many annual events that are perfect for visitors. Plan your next vacation so that you have a chance to experience one of the great events above.