The annual Santa Monica Nativity Scenes display will return to Palisades Park Sunday, Dec. 12.
This year’s exhibit, which will open a block north of last year’s site at 3 p.m., will honor a longtime supporter, businessman Jerry Botham.
The interdenominational display of 14 scenes with lifesize figures depicting events surrounding Christ’s birth will stretch along Ocean Avenue from Wilshire Boulevard to Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica.
The 12th scene, “Joseph’s Warning,” will have a new sponsor this year, Pacific Crossroads Church, which holds Sunday morning services at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica.
The opening ceremony at Ocean and Wilshire on Dec. 12 will feature seasonal songs and the recital of the Christmas story. The Rev. Nathan Kilian, pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church, will be master of ceremonies.
Pacifica Christian High School choir, making its first appearance in the opening ceremony, will be joined on the program by choirs and vocal ensembles from other Santa Monica organizations including: St. Monica Church and High School, Calvary Baptist Church, Lighthouse Church School, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, St. Anne’s, and Metro Church Calvary Chapel.
The public is invited to join a caroling procession forming at 2 p.m. Dec. 12 on the Third Street Promenade at Broadway. The procession, open to all ages, will march down the promenade and then west to the opening ceremony at Wilshire and Ocean.
At the ceremony, the Nativity Scenes Committee will honor Santa Monica-based Botham Plumbing and Heating and owner Botham for longtime support, according to committee Chairman Hunter Jameson. Jameson noted that when the Nativity Scenes reached a low ebb financially in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Botham joined with other volunteers to erect the booths to keep the display alive.
Botham, whose bathrooms grace homes from Santa Monica to Germany, credits co-workers in his business and associated building trades for making support of the Nativity Scenes possible. His firm’s donations result from a community effort, he says.
Voluntary donations from businesses, individuals and churches defray the full $18,000 annual cost of the scenes, Jameson noted. Costs include assembly, removal and storage of the booths; publicity and insurance; and replacement of revenue lost by the city due to covering of parking meters along Ocean Avenue.
Donations may be sent to the Nativity Scenes Committee at P.O. Box 0648, Santa Monica 90406.
The lighted scenes will be on display until the end of the year.