May 19th, 2024

Festival of Nativities set to be held as a drive-thru event

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on November 24, 2021.


A new spin is being put on an indoor nativity festival that ran several years at a south Lethbridge church.

The Festival of Nativities at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Scenic Drive went on hiatus when COVID-19 restrictions were implemented but an outdoor version of it is being mounted for several nights in December.

An outdoor drive-through festival is being organized for the first time and will run Dec. 9-12 from 5 until 9 p.m.

Rita Peterson said Monday that “it’s going to be interesting.” Similar drive-through festivals have been staged in the United States, said Peterson.

The plan is for spectators to approach the church through the south entrance. They will be directed along a route around the west side of the building that will take them to the north side. At the end, a short film be shown but people who don’t want to stay for it will be able to exit, said Peterson.

The film was shown last year outside the church, said Peterson, and a decision was made to run it again since it seemed popular.

“Last year we couldn’t do it ,” Peterson said of the indoor festival.

“But we couldn’t really do it inside again this year. We just can’t have huge groups. We talked about monitoring and keeping the lines at bay, just reasonable lines but it’s too much,” said Peterson.

“Not having done it before we have no clue…we just don’t know what the lines are going to be like so we’re trying to figure out a serpentine way of getting in” and keeping traffic moving through the different areas, she said.

It could be tricky,” she added.

“It’s trying to keep the same flavour of what was in the church,” said Peterson adding that sheds will be constructed for the different scenes.

“I think it will be really quite nice,” said Peterson.

“Not having done it before, it’s going to be interesting. We know of people who have done it in the States and they said it can work. I’m pretty sure it can,” Peterson added.

Organizers will be prepared if a winter blizzard hits but they are going on the assumption the weather will co-operate.

“We just need to make sure we have people with snowblowers on hand, ready to come over,” she said.

“The one thing that will be missing from this, of course, are the nativities, the creches. Of course, that’s been the big draw in the building but they’re still trying to get maybe five to 10 larger creches to put throughout the display. The last couple of years we had between 400 and 550 nativities that were given to display so obviously we’re not going to be doing that. And it’s outside so we just want the bigger ones so there will be a few, but not anything like there was inside,” said Peterson.

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