FAIRFIELD — There’s an expression at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church this time of year. “Come when you can, leave when you need to but stay as long as you can.”
For the past decade, the church has hosted a creche exhibit. It grows each year.
This year 14 new Nativity scenes will join those that have been displayed previously. The organizers are enticing viewers to find the new ones among the 300-plus that are on display. Those who can, have a chance at winning a prize.
A core group of volunteers set up tables Tuesday and covered them with cloths. Boxes, boxes and more boxes were pulled out Wednesday as the tables began to fill.
On hand was Dom Orlando. His late wife, Bev Orlando, began the exhibit. It’s now called the Bev Orlando Memorial Creche Exhibit.
“If she were here, she’d be up to her elbows in it,” he said.
The exhibit was born when an elderly woman in Palm Springs donated the bulk of her creche collection to Bev Orlando. The two were friends. Bev Orlando died in 2006.
Volunteers will put in between four and eight hours a day setting up the exhibit, which opens Saturday. Many of the same volunteers will watch over the tables and greet visitors Saturday through Thursday.
Adult guests don’t seem to favor one creche over another, said volunteer Kelly Newman. Children, however, love the scenes with animals and Charlie Brown, she said.
With new ones being added each year, some from donations, some purchased, Newman said the exhibit is still manageable. She’s not sure she would want it to grow much bigger.
A majority of the Nativity scenes come from Peru, Newman said. Six continents are represented. A creche from Antarctica is needed so all continents are featured.
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