Participants in the Nativity Festival show LaGrange the true reason for the season by displaying some of city’s greatest Nativities.
The annual Nativity Festival began on Wednesday, displaying Nativities at four different locations this year in the LaGrange.
The festival first started at First United Methodist Church on Vernon Street more than 12 years ago. Just over three years ago, the church thought it would be good to get other locations involved, thus Advent Lutheran Church, St. Peter’s Catholic Church and Vernon Woods Retirement Community were later added to the Nativity scene locations in the following years.
Advent Lutheran Church member Melody Reaves and coordinator for this year’s festival, said the festival is great for celebrating the Lord through Nativity scenes.
“It’s an outreach to the community to have an oasis. You have a piece of what Christmas is about.” said Reaves.
Some of the art featured in the festival were made in different areas of the world such as Egypt, Mexico, Israel to name a few and some by residents of LaGrange.
Advent Lutheran Church Mary Pauley submitted wooden Nativities that were made by her granddaughter, Annie Pauley. Mary has collected about 25 pieces of Nativity over the last 40 years, but considered her granddaughter’s hand crafted art to be her favorite.
Annie said that she made her art at church one day.
“They gave us blocks of wood, and then I glued on different pieces of felt.” Annie described.
Mary Pauley later bought her granddaughter’s Nativity from an auction that the church held.
The Nativity creations continue from the younger children all the way to the elderly community.
This year Vernon Woods Retirement Community was invited to join the festival and residents were excited to submit their pieces.
Edie Booth, a resident of the Vernon Woods Retirement Community, crafted a card board Christmas tree over 40 years ago, made with Christmas lights, velvet and pieces of old jewelry and dresses.
“I used to get a lot of the jewelry from garage sales.” explained Booth. “Women had stopped wearing all the old fancy jewelry and were selling them at yard sales.”
Booth said she also would take pieces that would hang from dresses, one of them being a Hollywood dress so that they could be used as icicles on the tree.
The process of making the tree took about two months. She drew the shape of the tree on cardboard, and then her husband drew the holes of where the lights would be poked through. She then covered the cardboard with velvet and drew shapes onto the tree so she would know where the limbs and “ornaments” would go. The last thing to be done was to insert the lights and glue on the pieces of jewelry.
Booth was inspired to make the tree after she had seen one made by one of her good friends.
Other members of the churches involved and residents of the retirement community were asked to donate their Nativities for the displays.
The festival will continue form noon. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.