HURRICANE — The Hurricane Community Center will be aglow with the spirit of Christmas this weekend as the park hosts a free Christmas tree festival and a live Nativity that includes real animals.
The annual Hurricane Valley Christmas Tree Festival will feature 50 Christmas trees and take place from 3-9 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Following the closing of the festival, there will be three presentations of a live Nativity.
All events will be held on the grounds of the Hurricane Recreation Center at 63 S. 100 West. The festival has been going on for more than three decades, with the city taking over the supervising of the event around five years ago, Hurricane City Manager Clark Fawcett said.
While planning goes on throughout the year, it’s still a grassroots volunteer effort. And while there are similar tree festivals throughout the communities of Southern Utah, Fawcett said there are some things that are uniquely Hurricane.
“One of the things I like about ours above others is people use a lot of ingenuity. It might be a stack of tires decorated as a tree,” Fawcett said. “It’s nice to wander around and get a chance to see each other together as a community. People take longer because they just wander into somebody they know and they just talk. It’s that small hometown feel.”
As part of this year’s event, a silent auction will give attendees the choice of purchasing an entire tree or just individual items from the trees. The silent auction will run through the entirety of the event, ending at 6 p.m. Saturday. Funds raised from the auction and other concessions will go to Hurricane’s Shop with a Cop program.
Also included in the festival will be a bake sale, train display, prize drawings and live music. For a full schedule of performers, click here. In addition, kids will have a chance to meet Santa Claus from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
After the festival closes on Saturday, there will be three presentations of a live Nativity at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
This is the second year of the live Nativity, which Fawcett said is something he had envisioned from performing in a similar Nativity for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his high school years – with one notable exception.
“We didn’t really have live animals,” Fawcett said. “I’ve been wanting to do that.”
Mary will ride in on a donkey, and other livestock such as cows and goats will join in the Nativity.
All events are free to attend. For more information on the Christmas Tree Festival, go the Hurricane City Leisure & Recreation website.
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