The ninth annual Community Créche Exhibit was hosted this past weekend by the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

by: JASON CHANEY - Hundreds of nativity scenes, small and large, adorned the ninth annual Community Créche Exhibit held on Saturday evening at the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This past weekend, local residents were welcomed to view hundreds of nativity scenes while enjoying some holiday music at the Ninth Annual Community Créche Exhibit.

The event, held at the local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, once again featured a variety of créche displays from those comprised of miniature figurines to others that would easily cover the front porch of someone’s home.

Tables baring multiple displays lined the opening hallway as people entered the church, and through another door a few feet away, a larger, gymnasium-sized room awaited with nativity scenes of all sorts lining every wall.

“Créche events have been around for ions,” said Renee Moss, one of the event organizers. “The gal who started it here patterned it after the one that is held in Corvallis. People come from Washington (state) and bring their nativities. It’s humongous. It takes up the whole building. That is where her inspiration came from.”

Moss quickly learned that the Prineville community was more than capable of providing a plentiful supply of créche exhibit material.

“There are so many people who collect nativity scenes,” she said. “I had no idea that people collected them until this event started taking place.”

Nine years in, organizers decided to add some new attraction to the annual exhibit, one of which was a full-scale concert. In the past, musicians had provided the background for the créche display, but in recent years, people began to pay more and more attention to the music.

“So, Renee is like, ‘I think they want a concert,’” said Lorrie Peterson, another event organizer.

The concert began about an hour into the Saturday evening display, with multiple musical acts taking the stage while visitors sat in rows of chairs enjoying the tunes.

“The music is one of the highlights,” Moss said, “to be able to listen to some of the community performers.”

In addition to the concert, a live, outdoor nativity scene was planned for the exhibit. Peterson noted that during a prior créche exhibit, a live nativity display was included that pleasantly surprised visitors.

“It was just tucked back in the corner. It wasn’t out front. People didn’t know it was there,” she recalled. “When they would come to that, it was like ‘gasp’ -- an emotional feeling, just to see that."

As it turned out, the timing couldn't have been much worse to plan their first outdoor nativity scene. By early evening, when the exhibit was scheduled to open on Saturday, temperatures had already plunged below zero degrees.

By the time the concert started, an hour into the evening’s display, the outdoor nativity scene display was called off due to the frigid temperatures.

For Moss and Peterson, the Creche exhibit is a way to put the focus of the Christmas season, which is often swept up in secular celebration, back on the birth of Jesus Christ.

"It's a great way to start the season," Moss said. "It gives it that religious focal point."