By Tara Bennett
Since 1998, white lights have twinkled throughout Mid City, and on Friday Nov. 21, the lights will return bigger and brighter before during the 17th annual Mid City Merchant’s White Light Night.
The event is always hosted the Friday before Thanksgiving in the Mid City Art and Cultural Design District, and grows each year. More than 50 merchants will be involved in this year’s art hop with over 20 of those locations featuring live entertainment.
“It’s kind of evolved from an art hop to an art festival,” said Liz Walker, owner of the Elizabethan Gallery and the chairwoman of White Light Night. “It has a big party atmosphere. There’s something for all ages. We’re very inclusive here in Mid City.”
According to Walker, there will be more music than before, featuring several local bands and musicians including: DJ DADU, Pacifico, John Gray and Dunham Jazz Band, The Easy, The Smoky Note, Miguel Hernandez & Friends, Bryce Cain, The Retro Dukes, Kirk Holder, Westbound Train, Lucy and the Gamblers, Kenny Acosta, Daniel Patterson & Brew Ha-Ha Open Mic Crew, The Eddie Smith Band, Les Bons Sons, DJ Ian Means Dyer, Chris LeBlanc and Matt Lanius.
“There are some people who don’t come to White Light Night for the art, they come for the music,” said Walker. “There’s a little bit for everybody.”
There will also be a live performance of Lagniappe Aerial, who will be performing from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Radio Bar. These dancers will perform acrobatic routines while hanging from silk fabric.
“These are professional dancers,” said Walker. “You don’t see acts like this for free often. I think that’s a pretty cool thing.”
Along with the live entertainment, this year will also feature live painters, two car shows, holiday shopping, food and wine and featured artists in every stop on the map.
“It gives a lot of new and well-known artists in the area a chance to show their talent,” said Walker.
Walker has been involved with the organization of White Light Night since it first began, and explained that the event is great for the artists involved as well as the businesses.
“It’s a very successful means of advertising,” said Walker. “White Light Night will automatically give them a sizeable amount of people who will find them.”
The event will go on between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., but Walker advises people to utilize the map, which gives details for each participating location, and plan their night from there.
“It’s just physically impossible to go to all the businesses,” said Walker. “So the good thing about the map is you can plan where you want to start. Some people may not like crowds so they might just go to five or six businesses and then go to one of the restaurants and have a nice dinner.”
According to Walker, people should find a parking place where they can, such as school parking lots or Piggly Wiggly. To assist people, Tiger Transit will provide four large passenger buses to pick people up along the route and transport them to different locations on the map.
“Just like in New Orleans when they have their events, parking is at a premium,” said Walker.