Princeton Times

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December 21, 2012

Live Nativity set, weather permitting

PRINCETON — Shepherds are ready to steer their flocks toward Park Avenue and Mercer Street. The holy couple has prepared for the manger, and the heavenly angels are ready to sing.

But, weather might delay the First United Methodist Church’s Live Nativity tonight.

“Right now, it’s still set for Friday night, but there’s a possibility we might have to move it to Saturday,” FUMC Live Nativity director Tom Bay said Thursday. “We’re going to have to wait on the weather.”

The event, which has proven to be a favorite throughout the Princeton community and a holiday labor of love for the men, women and children who put it together, features roughly 100 human cast members, along with live cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, and even a llama.

For 15 years, it ran solidly, without a single delay or cancelation. For the last three years, however, a series of severe winter storms has derailed the merry tradition.

Bay remains hopeful that whatever snow falls over the region or the winds that blow in this weekend will move out in time for the Live Nativity to share the tale Christ’s birth.

“This is the meaning of Christmas,” he said. “A lot of the children and adults who were in the Nativity have missed it. It’s a big part of their Christmas celebration.”

If the weather cooperates, this year’s Nativity will move from the side of the Church on Park Avenue, closer to the front of the church at the intersection of Park and Center.

“We’ve talked about that for a few years, and we decided this year that we’d try it,” Bay said. “We’ve already taken down the Nativity that was there, so that we could put our set in the front.”

While there are three crews of human re-enactors who make the Nativity possible, the animals attract many of the younger visitors to the scene.

Those re-enactors include Coco Bean, a 7-year-old llama; Stanley, a 7-year-old St. Croiz sheep; Ginger and Oreo, 5-year-old Nigerian dwarf goats; Bert, a 12-year-old spotted miniature donkey; and Magnolia, a 10-month-old cow who currently stands 27 inches tall.

Whether the Nativity takes place Friday or Saturday, it will repeat six times between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., weather permitting.

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