Festival of the Nativity expands for 6th Event
FOUNDATION PRESIDENT, CLINTON HANSEN, WENT ON CHANNEL 8 NEWS TO PROMOTE THE BARTLESVILLE FESTIVAL OF THE NATIVITY EVENT HELD AT ST JOHN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SCHOOL AND THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS WITH EVENTS FROM FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9 – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11.
The Bartlesville Festival of the Nativity – a multi-faith celebration of the Savior’s birth through nativity displays and music – enters its sixth year with expanded reach and is set to become the largest nativity event in all of Green Country.
The Nativity Festival, scheduled for Dec. 9-11, has been coordinated and held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bartlesville for the last five years, but is now moving to a larger space to allow for more attendees.
“We are excited to be pairing with St. John Catholic Church and School for this year’s festival,” said Melanie Bayles, head of the festival coordinating committee. “The new venue is beautiful and the partnership will allow us to involve even more people in the event.”
But the event is intended to reach far beyond the two faiths hosting the event. The planning committee sent letters to more than 125 church congregations in the area inviting them to participate in the concerts, incorporate church traditions, bring nativities to exhibit, or just come and enjoy any of the festival events.
“We encourage other churches and organizations to join with us in incorporating more events that can be included as part of the Festival, either this year or in future years. Our goal is to bring people of diverse faiths and beliefs together through this yearly nondenominational, community-wide event,” said Bayles.
The festival will feature more than 500 nativities from all over the world, family-friendly concerts featuring music from local churches and ensembles, a live nativity, and a Messiah Sing-Along. The entire event is free and open to the public.
The event’s nativities come from a variety of different cultures, countries, and styles, ranging from simple ones made by children to elaborate, elegant family heirlooms. Nativities are donated by individuals in the community just for the weekend, which are then returned back to the owner for display in their own home at Christmastime.
“The nativities are carefully protected throughout the Festival to ensure they are kept safe and undamaged,” said Bayles.
Bayles said the festival focuses on nativities because they are an important visual reminder of why Christmas is celebrated.
“There are so many beautiful and unique nativities out there – they remind us that we can all be unique in our individual faiths, families, traditions, socioeconomics, but we can all come together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas,” said Bayles.
The festival also plans to raise money for children in need by accepting cash donations, holding a raffle for nativities, and inviting attendees to bring an unwrapped give for a child.
“Any money raised through the event by sponsors and donors will be donated to help kids in need,” said Clint Hansen, who serves on the planning committee and is president of the PlayForBurk Foundation, a major sponsor of the event. “Many don’t have means to provide Christmas presents for their children, and we want to help make Christmas a little more special for these kids.”
The festival planning committee invites anyone with nativities to consider sharing them as part of the festival. Those interested in displaying a nativity can visit bartlesvillenativity.org and look for the nativity registration form, or alternatively can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We invite and encourage people of all faiths take a break from the craziness of Christmas and join us to celebrate its true meaning. We hope this will become a special Bartlesville Christmas tradition for many years to come,” said Bayles.