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Nativity Sets From Around the World on Display

by on December 15, 2012 12:09 PM

In honor of the Christmas holiday, more than 400 Nativity sets from around the world will be on display through Sunday at the Builder’s Association of Central Pennsylvania office.

Presented by the GFWC State College Woman’s Club, the “One Starry Night in Bethlehem” exhibit will feature Nativity sets and other Nativity items owned by Nancy McGhee, of State College.

Once held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the annual Nativity Exhibit included sets from numerous area residents. After the church stopped organizing the show a few years ago, the Woman’s Club chose to begin displaying a Nativity exhibit this year.

Knowing McGhee’s dream to have a venue where she could display all her of Nativities at once, Nancy Taylor, chairman of the show, asked McGee to be the sole exhibitor at “One Starry Night in Bethlehem.”

Among the hundreds displayed will be a vintage hand painted bronze paper mache set from Germany, Magic-Stik “Frosties” window and mirror nativity decoration from 1952 and a vintage ivory porcelain set made in Italy.

Taylor said for four days, each Nativity will be put on display in a special setting, honoring the specific design of the set.

“We might have a slab of marble that we put one on or set one in sand or put something in a basket or in a candle holder,” Taylor said. “We just have a great number of different things that we can set some on.”

In addition to the Nativity sets, a Christmas tree decorated with Nativity ornaments owned by McGhee will also be on display.

As chairman, Taylor said she works to make sure everything for the exhibit gets done. She has been overseeing the planning, organizing and advertising, but Taylor said her real job begins when it is time to decorate for the exhibit.

She said volunteers will hand starts from the ceiling the Sunday before the exhibit opens, due to the title of the event. When the display tables arrive on Monday, Taylor, McGhee and other volunteers will drape in black cloth, to which pieces of colored fabric will be added. Christmas tree lights will be added to offices and conference rooms where the Nativity sets will be displayed. Once it is time to set up the hundreds of Nativity sets, more volunteers will be on hand.

“Nancy McGhee can’t do it all herself, so helpers from the Women’s Club will be there to help her unpack,” Taylor said.

Taylor encourages members of the community to visit the exhibit as a way to experience the beauty of the exhibit, as well as the true meaning of Christmas.

“The idea is trying to bring Christ and the true meaning of Christmas back. It’s got so commercialized that people just forget about it, what the true meaning is,” she said.

Admission to the exhibit is free, though members of the Women’s Club will be accepting donations for the charitable organization at the doors.

Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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