Williston United Methodist Church is continuing its fairly new tradition of exhibiting a large collection of nativity scenes from around the country and the world.

The church is holding its third annual nativity festival this weekend. More than 80 nativity scenes will be on display.

Some are small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, and others are up to 4 feet tall.

From wood to glass, they are made of different materials, and they come from many places around the world like Africa and Mexico. Some are crafted by the hands of church members themselves.

“It's just really something to see – all the different ones,” said Judy Carey, president of the Williston United Methodist Women. “It's just so unique to see all of these – the different artists and the interpretation of them (nativity scenes.)”

Carey said the church got the idea for the festival by attending a similar event at Mepkin Abbey near Charleston. She said it became such a hit at the Williston church they decided to make it a yearly festival.

“The Nativity Festival is a way for Williston United Methodist to give back to our community and surrounding areas,” Carey said.

To Carey, it's a special holiday event with strong meaning.

“Christmas is getting so commercialized and this is a way to let people know what Christmas is all about,” Carey said.

Carey said the event has grown in both the number of people who attend and the amount of nativity scenes they have on display. She said they have an extra show room this year and are already considering a living nativity scene to be outdoors next year.

Baked goodies and homemade nativities will be for sale at the festival. The event is free but donations will be accepted for the church's mission work.

Williston United Methodist Church is located at 6030 Springfield Road in Williston. The festival takes place Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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