LOREAUVILLE — If the Loreauville Community Project has proven one thing in the last year, it’s that they know how to throw an event.

It’s hard to gauge how many people attended the second annual “Christmas in the Village” gathering Saturday night, but even after Main Street in front of town hall was blocked off to allow more space, the crowd was still as thick as the premier event last year.

“I’m not stupid,” laughed Mayor Brad Clifton. “After last year’s turnout, we decided early to block off the street.”

Not all of that space was for the crowd, though. The village also added 25 vendor booths, with local craft makers offering their wares up for discerning Christmas shoppers. A face painting table was set up in the middle of the street, with a steady line of customers backed up through the evening.

That queue was nothing compared to the line for photos with Santa. Even before the doors opened, families were waiting in a line that stretched across the parking lot before hooking a sharp left and continuing down Main Street.

“I think we have a bigger crowd than last year,” said Kirsten Bourque, a member of LCP and newly appointed member of the Iberia Parish Tourist Commission. “Even though we made more space, it’s still crowded.”

LCP member Lance LeBlanc, the official “tree wrangler” for the event, continued adding decorations as they showed up until the last minute.

“When they drop them off, I put them on,” he said.

As Clifton made an announcement that Santa was on his way, he apologized for the jolly old elf’s tardiness.

“I think he made a wrong turn,” Clifton said over the PA. “He ended up landing in the bayou. They got him out though.”

A few minutes later, a four-wheeler slowly pushed its way through the crowd, pulling Santa’s wagon. He waved to the crowd and dismounted, helping to turn on the village’s Christmas lights before heading toward the Town Hall building to pose for photos.

The event is a fund raiser for the LCP, with proceeds going toward LCP’s other events and projects for the year. One of the new fundraising avenues — a Christmas CD featuring Loreauville musicians — was previewed Saturday night, with John Anthony and Corey Ledet teaming up to perform “Christmas Time in the Village.”

“I’m not going to say what the best song on the disc is,” said Clifton during the introduction, “but it’s mine. Mine is the best.”

Bourque said the disc was not quite finished yet.

“They’re still working on it,” she said. “It’ll be out before Christmas.”

Even after the lighting of the tree, the arrival of Santa, no one was making any indication of leaving the party. Ledet and Anthony continued their performance as people continued to walk up to the celebration, growing the crowd even further.

“It’s great,” Bourque said. “Couldn’t ask for better.”

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