Paris, Arkansas
Paris is one of the stops on
the Arkansas Trail of Holiday
Lights.
The Lights of Paris (Arkansas) - Paris Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Christmas Lights of Paris, Arkansas
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Christmas Lights of Paris, Arkansas
Paris in Lights
The historic courthouse in Paris, Arkansas, is
decked out in thousands of holiday lights.
Christmas in the Arkansas Hills
One of the most beautiful sights of the
Christmas season in the South is the central
square of Paris, Arkansas.

Situated in a beautiful valley almost in the
shadow of
Mount Magazine, the state's tallest
mountain, Paris is a charming and historic
small town that has established a beloved
tradition by decking its historic courthouse
and town square in a dazzling display of
lights each holiday season.

The Paris area was settled in the 1820s,
although the town itself was not incorporated
until 1873. It is noted as the home of a
number of noteworthy individuals, including:
James Lee Witt, director of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
under President Bill Clinton; Zelphia Horton,
who was largely responsible for the unofficial
adoption of the song
We Shall Overcome by
the Civil Rights movement; and James
Bridges, the director of such movies as
The
China Syndrome
, Urban Cowboy and Bright
Lights, Big City.

In fact, when it comes to bright lights, the little
city of Paris knows its business. A stop on
the official Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights,
the community turns its downtown square
into a winter wonderland each Christmas
season.

The theme for the 2009 lights is "Mistletoe
and Magic" and over 100,000 strands of
lights cover the courthouse and surrounding
area this year. The event began fourteen
years ago, but is already a popular tradition
in the Arkansas River Valley. A crowd of 5,000
people gathered in downtown Paris for the
2009 lighting ceremony and over 100 entries
took part in the Christmas parade that
coincided with the event.

The Paris lights are part of the statewide Trail
of Holiday Lights promoted by the Arkansas
Department of Parks and Tourism. The trail
features the best and most unique lighting
displays, many of them involving historic
locations, across the Natural State.
Please
click here to visit the official website for more
information.
Paris is located on State Highway 22 about
40 miles east of Fort Smith and 40 miles
west of Russellville. The easiest access
from Interstate 40 is via the Ozark exit (Exit
#23). From the exit, travel 1.4 miles on State
Highway 23 and turn left on State Highway
309. This highway will bring you to the center
of Arkansas.

The Ozark route also gives you a chance to
experience the magnificent Arkansas River
bridge at Ozark, which provides what has
been ranked as one of the most beautiful
views in the United States.

While in the Paris area, be sure to check out
Mt. Magazine State Park which features a
beautiful lodge, cabins, restaurant, waterfalls
and spectacular views.
100,000 Christmas Lights
The annual lighting ceremony
attracted 5,000 people to
downtown Paris in 2009.
2009 Lighting Ceremony
Accompanied by a parade,
the annual lighting ceremony
has become a tradition in the
Arkansas River Valley.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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