Nativity set for 26th season
Friends and neighbors in the Vinland area are again making preparations for the annual Vinland Living Nativity, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 21-23. Each evening, parents with babies up to six months of age and volunteer shepherds of all ages come to the Exhibition Building at the Vinland Fairgrounds, 1/4 mile east of Co. Rd. 1055 on Co. Rd. 460, to present their version of the Nativity scene.
The volunteer families take their places at the handmade manger posing as Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. Shepherds gather around the Holy Family with their live animals and everyone holds the pose for half-hour to one-hour shifts. Live cows, sheep and goats, often with newborns are also present for the scene.
Visitors have come from many places and countries to experience the quiet, peaceful atmosphere before returning home for their own traditions of the holidays, according to this year's chairman, Jean Moore.
"We have lots of people who say that the Nativity visit is their way of beginning the holiday celebrations," said Vinland resident Moore. "This is our second year at the fairgrounds and there is much better access for busloads now.
"This will be the 26th year for some of our volunteers," Moore said. "Robert Miller, Baldwin City, is one of the originals. Robert has worked tirelessly for each presentation. He has often been a shepherd, taking extra shifts if necessary.
"Our volunteers are so conscientious," she said. "Robert is one of the ones who calls us if he thinks we haven't gotten around to calling the volunteers soon enough."
Others work for several weekends prior to the presentation, preparing the "stable." Thelma Snowbarger, Baldwin City, has crocheted "stars" for participants' thank you gifts for nearly 20 years, Moore said.
"Everyone of every faith is welcome to share our offering," Moore said, "and all who wish to can come from the quiet setting to the nearby Vinland United Methodist Church basement for conversation and refreshments."