Saturday, December 1, 2012

Take a Trip to the 2012 Grand Cane Pioneer Christmas Parade and Trade Day

One of the best ways to get into the spirit of the Christmas season is to attend a small town Christmas parade.

The Historic Village of Grand Cane held their annual Pioneer Christmas Parade and Trade Day today; it was a beautiful clear day that felt more like late spring than December 1.  We pulled the top down on the Jeep and enjoyed the drive as we dashed over for the 11:00 parade.

We thoroughly enjoyed last year's festival so we decided to make the trip again this year.  Grand Cane is a tiny town with a huge heart.

There are no motorized vehicles in this parade (thus the name Pioneer Parade); there are lots of mules and horses though!

When we arrived the crowd was gathering and staking out their parade spots:

(Click on any of the pictures to enlarge and clarify)

We wandered around looking at some of the shops while we waited.

There have been a few changes since our last visit.  The quilt and fabric shop is now at the south end of the main drag:

Many of the shop owners were dressed in period costume:

These ladies were selling t-shirts, sweat shirts, books on local history and raffle tickets for a grand treasure chest:

I bought five chances on this chest which was filled with gift certificates, art, toys, a blanket, etc.  Naturally I did not win:

In the old bank building we found a display of railroad memorabilia:

A little closer look:

This cute young fella was interested in the antique tools on display:

Grand Cane is a tiny village; at its peak the population was about 500.  It's located in DeSoto Parish and was founded on the crossroads of La. 171 and 3015.  Its proximity to the railroad led to its prosperity where a downtown business district developed.  The Great Depression and the demise of the Texas and Pacific railway pretty much did the town in by the 1950s.  Now, with the Haynesville Shale, the oil business, and the work of some dedicated preservationists, the town is resurgent.  It's a favorite stop of ours in our day trip rotation.

As the crowd was growing for the parade, we went inside the DeSoto Arts Council and did a little shopping.

I bought this cute mini-canvas of a pelican and this hand carved wooden Santa.  The Santa is from woodcarver Joe Hartley of Bayou Creations:

Steve thinks he looks a little oriental, but I like him.

The parade was led by local community leaders and plenty of horses and mules.

Lots of covered wagons:

The children scrambled into the street to gather the candy thrown by people in the parade:

Beautiful horses:

I liked this little puppy in a saddle bag (I know it's not really a saddle bag...let's call it a puppy bag):

Cute little dog.  He slept most of the way.

After the parade the smell of bar-b-que and good food lured us to the town square where we found this gentleman grilling turkey legs:

Here's the obligatory "Steve petting a dog" picture.  This bulldog was dressed in his Georgia gear as were his people:

We settled on food: Steve got a chopped beef sandwich and I got chili cheese nachos:

After eating we browsed the vendor booths.  I bought one of these bird feeders; it's a simple idea and the gentleman selling them was really nice.  He sold me when he pointed out how easy to clean they are and how they are less likely they are to make the birds sick because they don't get all gunked up like plastic bird feeders.

I loved this old Chesterfield sign.  That's my mom's brand; it's a cool looking sign.  They wanted $100 for it and I had no place for it so I left it there.

I was happy to see the fried pie vendor back this year:

Steve got a crawfish pie and I got a peach pie:

That pie was right out of the fryer and was too hot to eat but boy was it good!

We listened to the Blake Brothers Bluegrass Band play a couple of tunes inside the playhouse; they played "Beulah Land" which was just gorgeous.  I took a couple of pictures but they came out blurry.  Naturally.

Inside the playhouse, though, I found the quilting ladies:

We were sad to learn earlier this year of the closing of The Raven bookstore.  We loved Vanessa's shop and always stopped there when we visited Grand Cane.  It's been a tough year for indy booksellers.  We lost The Book Merchant in Natchitoches this year and now The Raven.  I hate it.

In the shop where The Raven was is now an antique shop called The Wanderer.  The shop is owned by Hannah Roark who also features her own pottery and art in the shop.  Hannah told us she officially opened on Black Friday and I have my fingers crossed for her success.

 I loved her window display; the life sized dancing Santa had me mesmerized.  

She's got a great mix of old and new in the shop:

I loved the Caddo Fence sign, but again, no place to put it.  It was $15 and I thought that was a steal.  I probably should have bought it.

Instead I bought this precious, old pug pillow:

Grand Cane is a sweet little town and really knows how to put on a fun Christmas festival.  We will be back soon as we are anxious to try Nonni's Place which has opened since our last visit.  We smelled some tasty steaks cooking as we walked back to the Jeep today!

If you're looking for a day trip from the Shreveport-Bossier area, be sure to put the Historic Village of Grand Cane on your list.  Grand Cane is about 25 miles south of Shreveport and 8 miles north of Mansfield on Highway 171.

You can keep up with events in Grand Cane on their Facebook page.

The SIGIS Take a Trip Series:
Take a Trip to the 2012 Defenders of Liberty Air Show at BAFB
Take a Springtime Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden, LA
Take a Trip to Logansport, Louisiana
Take a Trip to the Lock and Dam on Red River
Take a Trip to the 2012 Barkus and Meoux Parade
Take a Christmas Shopping Trip to Second Hand Rose in Minden
Take a Trip to the Fourth Annual Barksdale AFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Grand Cane's Fifth Annual Pioneer Trade Day
Take a Trip to the 2011 Highland Jazz & Blues Festival
Take an Autumn Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Take a Fall Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to the 8th Air Force Museum at Barksdale Air Force Base
Take a Summertime Trip to Grand Cane
Take a Trip to Desoto Parish
Take a Summer Trip to Second Hand Rose Antiques in Minden
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Melrose Plantation 
Take a Trip to Ed Lester Farms and a Random Antique Stop
Take a Trip to the Norton Art Gallery and the Masters of Cuban Art Exhibit
Take a Trip to Natchitoches to See the Christmas Lights
Take a Trip to the Third Annual BAFB Oktoberfest 
Take a Trip to Natchitoches and Oakland Plantation
Take a Trip to Jefferson, Texas
Oktoberfest at BAFB

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