The annual Santa Monica Nativity Scenes display will open in Palisades Park at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11 and continue through the end of the year.

The interdenominational display of scenes began in 1954 and features lifesize figures depicting events surrounding Christ’s birth.

The opening ceremony at Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard will include seasonal songs and the recital of the Christmas story. The Rev. Nathan Kilian, pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, will serve as master of ceremonies.

A choral ensemble from Pacific Crossroads Church will make its first appearance in the opening ceremony. Also participating in the event are choirs, vocalists and musicians from Santa Monica organizations including 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.

The traditional display will be limited because of space restrictions in Palisades Park this year, but sponsors hope to showcase the full display next year, the 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 the covering of parking meters along the scenes on Ocean Avenue.

Donations may be sent to the nonprofit Nativity Scenes Committee at P.O. Box 0648, Santa Monica, CA 90406.

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