The annual display of Santa Monica’s Nativity Scenes based on the Christmas story will open at 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 11, in Palisades Park at Ocean and Arizona avenues.
The interdenominational display will stretch along Ocean Avenue from Arizona Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard and includes 14 scenes with lifesize figures depicting the events that surrounded Christ’s birth.
Preceding the opening, the public is invited to join in a procession of carolers down the Third Street Promenade and along Wilshire Boulevard to the park. The procession will form at Broadway on the Promenade at 3 p.m.
The opening ceremony will feature seasonal songs and a recital of the Christmas story. Taking part will be choirs from Calvary Baptist Church and the Lighthouse Church School. Santa Monica-area composer Michael Shaughnessy will lead the Lighthouse Christian Academy Choir in his musical scoring of the opening text of John 1. Presiding will be Bob Gabriel, a Santa Monica insurance agent and Nativity Scenes supporter since 1955.
Individuals and churches underwrite the $19,000 cost of the scenes through the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee. The city does not pay for the scenes.
Costs include assembly, removal and storage of the booths; publicity and insurance and replacement of revenue lost by the city due to the shutdown of parking meters along Ocean Avenue.
The lighted scenes will be on display until the end of the year. On weekends, the right southbound traffic lane along Ocean Avenue by the display booths will be reserved for motorists viewing the scenes.Donations may be sent to the Nativity Scenes Committee at P.O. Box 0648, Santa Monica 90406.