The star of the season; First-ever Festival of the Nativities Dec. 1-2

Published 7:01 am Sunday, November 26, 2017

Westminster Presbyterian’s Festival of the Nativities is ready to celebrate its first-ever presentation of community creches, to be displayed at the church from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, and from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the church.

Nativities will be featured on lighted displays throughout the church on 24 tables, according to organizers, and will come from a variety of sources, from churches to private collections. A “sneak peek” of the December event was held in September, when about 30 nativities were on display, to give community members a “taste” of what the event intended.

While the festival is hosted by Westminster, the event is a non-denominational, intergenerational Christian outreach to the community, bringing focus to the birth of Christ.

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During the sneak peek, nativities were made in a variety of mediums, from carved olive wood and plaster of Paris, to pewter, china, bisque and ceramic. Some nativities on display also came from other countries, including Spain, Norway and Germany.

The collection of nativities is a non-denominational and intergenerational effort. The above pictures are samples of just a few of the nativities that will be featured. These were on hand during the “sneak peek.” Photos provided

The September event “generated a lot of anticipation and excitement for the December event,” said Gloria Aanonson at the time. She’s one of the event’s co-chairwomen. “It gave everyone a better understanding of how they can get involved.”

Scores of volunteers are working hard on the event. The event does not only provide beautiful displays of the nativities, but music as well. On Friday the Austinaires, pianists and flute ensembles will be featured in the sanctuary. On Saturday, Second Edition, MacPhail Percussion Ensemble and the Solo Bells will be featured in the sanctuary. Family groups and individuals will also share sacred music in the Fellowship Hall and in the parlor on both days.

There will be a telling of the Nativity story at 7 p.m. each evening in the sanctuary.

Refreshments and children’s activities will also be offered.

“We intend this to be a great gift to the community, with the emphasis on the true meaning of Christmas,” Aanonson said when the effort first began.

Those who would still like to donate a nativity to the event may still do so by delivering it to the church, located at 802 Fourth St. NW in Austin, at the following dates and times:

• 3-6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26

• 1-6 p.m,. on Monday, Nov. 27

• 7-11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28

Anyone with questions may contact Aanonson at or call her at 507-438-7393.

Deb Nicklay can be reached at