750 Nativity scenes, including cathedral’s, will be on display at Peoria-area festival

This is just a section of the historic Nativity scene from St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. It will be among more than 750 Nativities on display at the Peoria Area Community Festival of Nativities Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.

“O Holy Night” is the theme of the 2023 Peoria Area Community Festival of the Nativities, which will feature more than 750 manger scene depictions from around the world. It also celebrates the 800th anniversary of the first crèche exhibit by St. Francis of Assisi.

The display will be available for viewing on four days — Nov. 30 and Dec. 1-3 — at 3700 W. Reservoir Blvd. in Peoria. Hours are from 3 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free.

A live Nativity will be on site from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30.

The annual festival is sponsored by six area faith communities, including St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family parishes in Peoria.

For the second year, the display will feature the historic Nativity scene from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. Created by Sebastian Osterrieder in 1930, the 50-piece scene was obtained by Bishop Joseph Schlarman when he traveled to Munich in 1931, and has again been loaned to the festival by Bishop Louis Tylka.

Also found among the display will be an international Nativity collection from Father Ronald Margherio, OSB, of St. Bede Abbey in Peru; the private collection of Rachel Hermann, a founding member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish; a 3,000-piece Fontanini Collection; and the handiwork of Pekin woodworker Vic McDonald. There will be musical performances throughout the event.

More information is available at communityfestivalofnativities.com.

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