New festival displays about 250 nativities

Published 9:13 am Saturday, December 2, 2017

Table upon table of lighted nativity displays drew crowds of community members Friday at the Westminster Presbyterian Church.

The first-ever event featured over 240 nativity sets donated for display.

And people were definitely interested in seeing them. Visitors seemed to have a real fascination with size, media and origin of the sets. Visitors bent and peered, oohed and ahhed at the sets.

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“These,” said one woman, scanning the room, “are just amazing.”

Onlookers flooded Westminster Presbyterian Church’s “Festival of the Nativities,” Friday night. Almost 250 nativities were exhibited on lighted displays. A second event is already scheduled for next year. Deb Nicklay/

The variety was intriguing, co-chairwoman Gloria Aanonson said.

“We have a Hummel set, which is very special,” she said. “And, one is made in a coconut; one is made of nails.” Several sets came from Spain, Germany, Kenya and Norway.

Some came in snow globes; one was painted on the side of boxes; still others were made of rocks.

One set had crocheted Bethlehem dresses being worn by Kewpie dolls.

Even Kewpie dolls were used in one nativity. This set wears crocheted apparel.

“It has been a journey,” Aanonson said. “But we are very happy” with the result.

So happy, in fact, that next year’s event has already been scheduled, she said.

On Friday the Austinaires, pianists and flute ensembles were featured in the sanctuary; when they were not performing, families played sacred music in the parlor and Fellowship Hall.

The nativities came in all shapes and sizes, from different countries and collections. Almost 250 were displayed. The event continues from 4-8 p.m. Saturday.

The community will be afforded another chance to see the displays from 4-8 p.m. today at the church. 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.

And, the nativity story will be told at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary.