Festival of the Nativities returns for second year; Event to feature wide variety of nativities, music, hunt

Published 7:19 am Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The second annual Festival of the Nativities promises an even larger turn-out of both displays and visitors when the event opens on Friday and runs through Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Austin. There is no charge and the family-oriented event is non-denominational.

Over 250 nativities, brought together by Austin and area residents, were featured last year. This year’s event will be held from 4-8 p.m. on both nights.

The turn-out of visitors and variety of nativities brought to the church last year amazed the organizers, said Gloria Aanonson, who is coordinating the event.

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They were impressed by the emotional impact the crèches had on some, Aanonson said.

“Some left in tears, it was so emotional for them,” she said. “Some couldn’t speak at all. It really touched their hearts.”

The depth of differences between displays fascinated visitors in 2017 and Aanonson believes this year’s exhibits will continue to impress. Some sets followed traditional lines, while others used more unique media to feature the Holy Family. The sets, all lighted and arranged on fabric, came from other countries as well.

This year, organizers hope to have as many as those brought last year – and from advance contacts made to the church, their wish will be granted.

In addition to new displays, “some who brought nativities last year said they will be bringing more this year; some children worked on nativity projects in the summer,” she said. “People seem really excited.”

There will be lots of music to accompany the evenings, beginning at 4 p.m. each night.

New this year will be a sing along held on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the sanctuary; as well as a fun scavenger hunt, that will take participants to the more unique nativities. Holiday treats will also be offered.

Westminster Presbyterian Church is located at 802 Fourth St. SW in Austin.

Music at Festival of the Nativities


4 p.m. – Austinaires, Sanctuary

4:30 p.m. – Lorene Strobel piano students, Parlor; Carlson Family, Fellowship Hall

5 p.m. – AHS Chamber Orchestra

5:30 p.m. – Sonia Larson piano students, Parlor; Coni Nelson and Emily Beaver, Fellowship Hall

6 p.m. – APS Music Department and Friends, Fellowship Hall

6:30 p.m. – Forty Milers, Sanctuary; APS music, Fellowship Hall; Joyce Edlund piano students, Parlor

7 p.m. – Vortherms Family, Fellowship Hall

7:30 p.m. – Baron Family, Fellowship Hall, Rev. Michael Olmsted and Sing Along with Lorene Strobel, Sanctuary


4 p.m. – MacPhail Percussion Ensemble, Sanctuary

4:30 p.m. – Potter Family, Fellowship Hall; Sonia Larson, Parlor

5 p.m. – Second Edition, Sanctuary; Sonia Larson and Holly Dalager, Fellowship Hall

5:30 p.m. – Flute Ensemble, Sanctuary; Four Men and a Guy, Fellowship Hall

6 p.m. – Cindy Jayes, Fellowship Hall; Ecumenical Bells, Sanctuary

6:30 p.m. – Lydia Baron and Chloe McCarthy, Fellowship Hall; Holly Dalager piano students, Parlor

7 p.m. – Sing Along, Sanctuary; Grace and Abigail Chalmers, Fellowship Hall