Festival of Nativities

festival of nativities

The Peoria Area Community Festival of Nativities is back for its sixth year! Last year we held a Worldwide Virtual Nativity with over 12,000 views, including participants from 28 states and 14 countries, but this year we are in-person and just as good as ever. The Community Festival of Nativities: A Thrill of Hope will be held December 2nd through December 5th at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints at 3700 W. Reservoir Blvd. in Peoria. Times are Thursday 5pm–9pm, Friday and Saturday 10am–9pm, and Sunday 12pm–6pm. Admission is FREE!

This year’s Festival will delight your senses and fill your soul with Christmas goodness. Feel united with the community through love for the Savior as you view nearly 1,000 nativities from over 40 countries, including many pieces of Diana Lage’s Fontanini collection with its unique hand painted figurines. Feel the “Thrill of Hope” as you listen to live musical performances from local choirs, churches, schools, and other talented individuals. Even children have activities designed especially for them.

But the biggest highlight this year is several pieces from the James and Emilia Govan Crèche Collection. Over the course of almost 40 years, James Govan and his late wife Emilia collected over 500 nativities, representing over 100 countries. Their collection began with a traditional Italian nativity which was a gift from James to Emilia. This sparked an interest in crèches and a passion for collecting. They sought out nativities from diverse cultures, while also focusing on acquiring examples of fine art. After Emilia’s passing, James Govan authored a book about the tradition of their collection entitled Art of the Crèche: Nativities from Around the World, and he continues today to build the collection. 

This year, we are honored to display four nativities from the Govans’ collection. The first is a tryptich from Venezuela entitled “Christ in Chalice,” which is one of the most unusual displays of the Christ Child in the collection. Second is a crèche from Burkina Faso, West Africa—a bronze set in which the kings bear unique gifts of real grain, likely millet and sorghum. Next is a nativity from Poland by Adam Wydra, a relief sculpture created using only three carving utensils and no machinery. The fourth crèche comes from Cambodia, made by the Banteay Prieb Production. Each of the figurines is hand-carved from daikla wood and accentuates indigenous Khmer elements.

Come join with community members throughout the Peoria area in celebrating Christ through these beautiful depictions of the nativity. The event is sponsored by Holy Family Catholic Church, St. Vincent de Paul, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, and Peoria Heights Congregational Church. Find out more at CommunityFestivalofNativities.com and on Facebook at The Peoria Area Community Festival of Nativities.


For additional informative and inspirational articles visit 50 Plus News and Views Greater Peoria Area online edition today.

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