It was a rainy Saturday, but that didn't stop the residents of Vernon Parish from coming out to get into the Christmas spirit. Several bundled up in their warmest winter gear to stand in the cold and rain for a chance to see Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Even with the weather delay, there was plenty to do throughout the day with multiple vendors set up to sell local goods and food.

The lighted parade rolled at 5:30 p.m. with decked out floats making their way through downtown Leesville.

This year’s theme was “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” and the parade was put on by the Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce.

The cold drizzle could not stop some dedicated jambalaya lovers from tasting a sample from six contestants this year.

Tammy Anderson, Director of the Leesville Main Street said this year there were ten registered contestants but only the six decided to go ahead with the competition.

The cook-off is a people's choice competition where the winner will be selected by those who do the tasting.

Each contestant is given an individually colored ticket that each taster is given and they cast their ticket for their favorite jambalaya.

The first place winner will receive $1,000, with $500 going to second place and $250 to third. The is no cost to enter the competition and each taster pays $5 to sample all of the contestants.

The Christmas events of yesterday mark the beginning of the Christmas festivities in Vernon Parish, with many more to come between now and Christmas.