Largest Western collection of nativities at Holiday Festival

Saturday , November 28, 2015 - 12:00 AM1 comment

OGDEN — The endless differing views of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as they may have appeared in a manger on that first Christmas Day are available in one location at the Weber County Holiday Festival next week, Tuesday through Friday, Dec. 4-8, at the Golden Spike Event Center, 1000 N. 1200 West in Ogden.

The free event is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, including Sunday.

Organizers say the festival gets bigger each year. The event is in its 11th year and its third at the Golden Spike Event Center. Organizers are expecting more than the 17,000 visitors that attended in 2014.

“The why is the important part,” said Kevin Bailey, an event organizer. “If we can touch a single person, if a single person feels the spirit of the holidays, then we’ve done what we set out to do. We just love to have people come out and enjoy it.”

More than 4,000 volunteer hours have gone into expanding the event, Bailey said.

“We just want people to understand how people in our community celebrate the holidays,” Bailey said.

Nativity displays from all around the world are a central feature. 

“This is the grandiose of them all,” he said. “We have more nativities this year than ever before.”

Hosts and hostesses staged throughout the event will have a key to guide visitors to the various nativity displays.

A major attraction will be Santa’s corner. 

“Santa will be here every day all day,” he said. “We even scheduled him in the mornings for the little kids.”

There’s a kids corner and a photo area with a nativity backdrop where youngsters can have their photos taken as Mary and Joseph.

Another addition is extra seating for The Hunt Family Miracle of Christmas pageant. 

“Last year, we had trouble seating everyone for the live nativity performances,” he said. “This year, we have larger bleachers that will hold 700.”

The live nativity will be performed each half hour each night, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

There will be other forms of entertainment from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and begins at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The outdoor light show set to music is also bigger and better this year. Bailey said more than 10,000 lights are a part of the show and music can be heard on the radio at 92.1 FM.

“If it is snowing, people can come and sit in their cars and see the light show from their cars,” Bailey said. “It is pretty phenomenal.”

New this year is a partnership with the Simple Treasures Boutique

“We purposely planned both at the same time,” Bailey said. Visitors will be able attend the nearby boutique from 10 a.m to 9 p.m., also at the Golden Spike Event Center.

To help offset the cost, festival organizers are selling poinsettias for $10 each. They will be available at the boutique and at the display.

Visitors are encouraged to bring new or like-new stuffed animals, toys and non-perishable foods for donation at the event.

Stuffed animals will be given to the Children’s Justice Center. Toys will go to the Christmas Box House. Food donations will go to the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank.

Information is available on the event’s Facebook page, 2015 Weber County Holiday Festival or its website webercountyholidayfestival.com.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook.

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