Visitors at the first Nativity Festival in 2009, look over several unique nativities on display at Faith Lutheran Church in Whitehall. This festival will return for three days in early December.
WHITEHALL - The Nativity Festival at Faith Lutheran Church will be returning this year after a year layoff, and it will be bigger and better than ever.
The Nativity Festival will have a combination of familiar and popular displays, and the addition of new exciting nativities and music concerts.
The event, which will feature the display of more than 300 unique nativity sets from church family and community members and special displays and music inside the church, will be held the weekend of Dec. 7-9.
“This will be a spiritually awakening, Christmas experience,” said Kristen Jorg, who organized the festival which was held in 2009 and 2010. “It will be awesome.”
This year the Nativity Festival also will have concerts sponsored by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.
Festival hours will be Friday, Dec. 7, 6-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 8, 11-4 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 9, 11:30-4 p.m. Admission is free.
Instead of continuous live music, which was provided in the first two years, this year’s festival will have hour concerts. The Friday 7 p.m. concert will be by Woodwind Duets from the West Michigan Concert WINDS. On Saturday, the 1 p.m. concert will be by the Montague United Methodist Bell Choir and the 3 p.m. concert will be by the St. James Lutheran Choir of Montague, and the Sunday concert at 1 p.m. will feature a performance by the Reeths-Puffer High School choir.
Featured this year, will be selected artisan made pieces from Rev. Kay DeMoss’ 425-set collection of nativities from over 40 countries. DeMoss is Minister of Dicipleship at Central United Methodist in Muskegon.
Back this year will be Pastor H. Graupner’s awe-inspiring “Life of Christ Pageant” of over 300 pieces of hand carved, wooden figurines dating from the 1800s. Many of the pieces were carved by his great-grandfather in Dresden, Germany. Rev. Graupner, of Muskegon, describes the making of the pieces, and the importance of Christ’s life during his presentation.
A hands on part of the festival for children is they will be able to dress up in costumes and become part of a popular life-size manger scene, complete with a complimentary photo remembrance of the occasion. Jorg said several families have used that photo for their Christmas cards.
Jorg said they are still accepting nativities for display. People who would like to loan a unique nativity for display, may call her at 231-286-8685 before Dec. 1.
Faith Lutheran Church is located at the corner of Alice and Warner Streets in Whitehall. Festival parking will be in the church’s south parking lot off of Warner Street. There will be signage to direct visitors.