IVINS — Tuacahn Center for the Arts’ annual gift to the community is its “Christmas in the Canyon” with free entrance to all except for a small charge to attend the Live Nativity pageant and rides on Old Salty the train.
The glow of twinkle lights, red and green, produce a breathtaking and mesmerizing glow for visitors on the path to the amphitheatre. Visitors follow dramatic shadows produced by lit trees and a splashing waterfall from the parking lot up three tiers of stairs. A ramp for wheelchair convenience or a golf cart is provided for those in need.
The plaza and buildings are lit up with thousands of lights. Santa Claus, a roaring bonfire, Tuacahn’s gift shop and concessions await guests offering them a chance to feel the spirit of Christmas.
Likely the most talked-about favorite of Tuacahn’s Christmas is the Live Nativity pageant, shown at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday through Dec. 23.
Every night features a new volunteer cast. Some troupes consist of entire families, others include students and any community group that signs up. (Next year’s sign-up will take place in September 2017.)
The drama begins with recorded music beautifully amplified by sound engineers.
Characters, including Mary, Joseph and donkey plod along the desert hill. They emerge through Bethlehem’s city gates onto the stage and the resonating voice of Dick Nourse tells the biblical story.
“Joseph … went unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. …”
As the story unfolds, visitors are reminded why we celebrate Christmas: Jesus Christ, whose birth in the lowly town of Bethlehem is the biggest gift of all.
The kings come with their camels bearing gifts, which perhaps inspires visitors to keep the spirit of Christmas, be gentler and feel the message of joy and peace.
David Archuleta’s voice singing glorious songs was a high point of the short drama for many.
Three wisemen and two dromedary camels walked across the stage. Those who attended the pageant five years ago might remember the camel named Baby Joe, Kimberly Davis, Tuacahn’s animal wrangler, said. Now he is grown and joined by Burt and the two are proficient about walking the stage.
After their performance the camels are taken away to a private stable where they are kept until needed for another show.The camels will be at Tuacahn Saturday Market for rides on Dec. 17, at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting.
- What: Christmas in the Canyon with Live Nativity.
- When: Opened Nov. 25 and continues through Dec. 23 every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday | Santa Claus in the plaza from 6:30-8:30 p.m. | Live Nativity shows at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
- Where: Tuacahn Center for the Arts, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins.
- Cost: Tickets for Old Salty Christmas Express and the Live Nativity production are each $2 or $15 for a family of up to 10 members.
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