The annual Santa Monica Nativity Scenes display opened to the public in Palisades Park at on Sunday, Dec. 11, as bells ring in the distance.
The interdenominational display of scenes began in 1954 and features life size figures depicting events surrounding Christ’s birth. It will continue through the end of the year.
The opening ceremony at Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard included seasonal songs and the recital of the Christmas story. The Rev. Nathan Kilian, pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, was master of ceremonies.
A choral ensemble from Pacific Crossroads Church made its first appearance in the opening ceremony, and choirs, vocalists and musicians from these additional Santa Monica organizations also took part: St. Monica Church and High School, Calvary Baptist Church, Lighthouse Church School, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, St. Anne Church, and Metro Church Calvary Chapel.
In a new undertaking, the Nativity Scenes Committee has invited churches throughout the city to ring bells at the opening hour of the ceremony as well as on Christmas Day, a spokesman said.
Voluntary donations from businesses, churches, and individuals defray the annual cost of the scenes.
Costs include storage, transportation, setup and take down of the booths; advertising, insurance and mailing; and replacement of revenue lost by the city due to covering of parking meters along the scenes.
Donations may be sent to the nonprofit Nativity Scenes Committee at P.O. Box 0648, Santa Monica 90406.
The display will be limited because of space restrictions in Palisades Park this year, but sponsors look forward to presenting the full display next year, the spokesman said.