Lake Norman families loaned 150 Nativity sets to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to display at its ninth Annual Community Nativity Festival for some 2,000 guests.
The event at the church in Huntersville was held Dec. 2-3 and has grown each year, said Kerry Fulton, director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gastonia of NC Stake.
“We wanted to do an activity or an event that we can invite members of the community and just share something common that we all have, the belief in our savior,” she said.
“It’s our gift to the community. Christ was born and we do this at the beginning of the month so that we all remember what the real meaning of Christmas is,” Fulton said. In addition to the Nativity scenes, there were 30 pieces of artwork on loan by area residents, each depicting Jesus or the Nativity scene.
“A lot of families bring them (their Nativity sets) and set them up themselves,” she said, taking care of the heirlooms.
During the festival, 15 choirs, musicians, school choruses and singers entertained the crowds with Christmas hymns and songs.
Children dashed about, playing the scavenger hunt, searching for the right clues among the Nativities. The answer to question No. 4 in the scavenger hunt came from the all bear scene belonging to the Hindermarsh family in Huntersville.
Some sets were tiny, some were hand-carved, and each had its own style. Others, such as the rolled fabric set from the Philippines, that belongs to the Hosford family in Huntersville left some of the details to your imagination.
Children donned costumes and acted out Nativity scenes.
“Jesus, Jesus,” shouted Max Berrett, 2, before he picked up the doll that laid in the manger. It wasn’t long before his brother, Henry, 5, who was in a wise man costume, came over and told him to put the doll down.
Children also made ornaments and other seasonal crafts. One wall was lined with children, bent over in a row, working on their pin art, oblivious to the crowds hurrying down the hall behind them.
Fulton said there have been as many as 300 sets in previous years, “some sets are from far away places like Costa Rica, Israel, Mexico and the Philippines. This is how we kick off our Christmas season here,” she said.
Marty Price is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.