St Ippolyts Church ushers in Advent with Nativity Crib Festival

One of the crib scenes at St Ippolyts.

One of the crib scenes at St Ippolyts. - Credit: Archant

Advent is well and truly underway, and St Ippolyts marked the Christmas season’s arrival with its annual Nativity Crib Festival on Saturday.

One of the crib scenes at St Ippolyts.

One of the crib scenes at St Ippolyts. - Credit: Archant

More than 100 cribs from across the world and in a wide variety of styles were exhibited in St Ippolyts Church. The scenes on display came from as far away as Ecuador, Bangladesh and Jerusalem.

“I think for those who come it’s the start of Christmas,” said Barbara Thomas, who organised the event alongside Mary Hooper, Jane Veasey and Lynda Garner. “It’s been quite busy – a lot of people come every year.

“It’s been going since 2007. We had one year off when we thought we might only do it once every other year, but then we decided it was better to have it every year.”

One of the scenes depicted Mary and Joseph in Ecuadorian folk costumes. Another was carved out of wood from the olive groves around Jerusalem, while a third was made in the city where the Bible says Jesus was born, Bethlehem.

One of the crib scenes at St Ippolyts.

One of the crib scenes at St Ippolyts. - Credit: Archant

“I think every year we get better at it,” Barbara continued. “Every year we have new cribs – at least 20 this year – along with old favourites we have every year.

“Last year we got up to about 100 before we lost count, and I think it’s about the same this year.

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“I did task one little boy with counting them but he lost count.”

Visitors had the chance to win a nativity scene in a ‘Guess the name of the Lamb’ competition at £1 a go, choosing from a list including biblical names such as Salome and Candace, as well as some more unusual ones such as Mint Sauce.

“We intend to do it again next year,” said Barbara. “As organisers we’ll generally make or buy a new scene in the year – not that we’re obsessive or anything!

“If anybody has a crib they’d like to put in next year, just get in touch.”

Barbara can be reached by email at barbara.thomas@live.co.uk.

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