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Christmas Eve bonfire tradition burns with creativity in Garyville

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This 78-foot alligator will be set ablaze on Christmas Eve. All photos from the Blood, Sweat and Bonfires Facebook page.

Folks in Garyville, La., have a unique Christmas tradition that their children’s children will surely learn about in years to come.

Every year for about 20 years now, Josh Weidert and his friends get together to build a bonfire to set ablaze on Christmas Eve. But these aren’t run-of-the-mill big stacks of wood. These wooden creations are works of art.

This year, the bonfire creation is a 78-foot-long alligator.

Weidert, 33, is keeping a Louisiana tradition alive and “lighting a way for Papa Noel … down the foggy Mississippi River,” he told CNN. The centuries-old custom is celebrated in numerous communities up and down the river. In St. James Parish, more than 100 fires will be lit at one-hour intervals.

But few bonfires are constructed as intricately as the Garyville creations. In past years, the group has built a pelican, a snapping turtle, a guitar and even a Saints football helmet.

Click to enlarge

The group settles on the design when it “rings a bell with everybody,” Weidert said. The goal is to complete the build in about three weeks in their spare time. This year’s massive alligator took exactly 21 days.

The alligator will be set ablaze around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 24, and the fire should burn until well past midnight and into Christmas morning.

For more information and to see more photos, visit the Blood, Sweat and Bonfires Facebook page.

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Show off your sticker!

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(Image by ktalbot from Pixabay)

Did you vote today? Show off your sticker!

Send us a photo of yourself with your sticker, and we’ll show the world.

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VIDEO – Roberta Anderson celebrates her 70th birthday

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

Neighbors and friends of Roberta Anderson came out Saturday afternoon to give her a parade for her 70th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Ms. Anderson!

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VIDEO – Joyce Mobley celebrates her 62nd birthday with a parade

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

A birthday parade helped Joyce Mobley of Vicksburg celebrate her 62nd birthday Saturday.

Watch the video of just a few of her many well-wishers.

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