OGDEN -- Area faith communities are being invited to participate in a Weber County Holiday Festival by providing displays surrounding their faith traditions.
The festival, set for Nov. 29 through Dec. 3 in the Golden Spike Event Center, is designed as a way to share all religious faith communities, cultures and countries represented in the Top of Utah.
Organizers say they are expecting as many as 4,000 to 6,000 different displays.
"We are inviting peole to share their faith community's winter holidays with a brief explanation on a poster and other items that can be displayed to help others gain a better understanding of the rich diversity of religious faith communities we have in Weber County," reads a letter being distributed to area faith leaders.
The festival also will feature nonreligious representations, such as Christmas houses and villages, snowmen, trees, nutcrackers, St. Nicholas and Santa, holiday quilts and other items.
Members of area faith groups also are invited to serve as hosts and hostesses for the event.
Committee member Linda Binkley, of South Ogden, said the festival took shape when a Pleasant View Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints group decided to no longer present its annual large offering of creche displays inside a church there.
"Someone had an idea that we could have it at the Golden Spike Event Center and have it be open to different religions," said Binkley, who described herself as the "token Methodist" on the committee.
"There is a wide range of people that are involved with it," she said, including those who were involved in the Pleasant View effort who now are serving on this committee.
Kevin Bailey, who was a leader in the Pleasant View effort, said: "This way, it's super easy to make it way nondenominational, and so that every single entity can be a part of it."
He said the event will not be a Christian event or a Buddhist event or any other type of specific religious event.
"It's a holiday celebration of all different cultures," he said. "That's kind of where we are trying to head with this."
Among the plans are to have a live Nativity scene complete with animals. The Jewish community will be represented with different menorah displays.
Binkley said highlighting the diversity of the area is important if the true nature of the Top of Utah is to be represented.
"We are a very diverse area here with Hill Air Force Base, and Weber State University has a large international population. There are a lot students from a lot of different countries," she said.
Binkley said Bountiful has found success with a summer festival that highlights dances from throughout the world.
"I think it is important to have a grassroots kind of thing representing people who live here already," she said.
"It is our celebration. Why can't we enjoy each other's traditions?"
Bailey said the group is working to get sponsors to help defray the costs.
"We are contacting businesses, and we are trying to help people support it," Bailey said.
"I think big, and I think grandiose, and I want it to be eye-popping when people come. We don't want to charge anybody anything for it. We want it to be free to the community.
"We want to establish something that's local that can be part of our holiday tradition every year."
Organizers are planning to encourage those who participate to bring toys for less-fortunate children or canned food for area food banks.
To register your group to participate or to sign up to be on the planning committee for the event, call Doris Cadman at 801-391-5657 or email her at email@example.com. Call Binkley at 801-475-6924 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To become a sponsor, call Bailey at 801-389-8427.
The Golden Spike Event Center is at 1000 N. 1200 West in Ogden.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or email@example.com, or follow her on twitter at @jfrancis.