Riverdale community hosts 29th annual "Living Nativity" scene

RIVERDALE, Calif. (KFSN) -- Take a journey through the history of Christmas, before we gave gifts, decorated trees or hung wreaths. Back to where the holiday began, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

"The best part is we are giving them the true meaning of Christmas," said Director Chuck Spencer. "We feel there is a lot of commercialism during Christmas time."

The Riverdale Assembly of God and the Riverdale Christian Academy has been taking people back in time for nearly 30 years, through their Living Nativity.

"They say we used to come through with our moms and dads and it became a tradition and now they are the parents and they are bringing their children," said Spencer.

It is not just a tradition for visitors, some of the almost 300 volunteers have been part of the production since it started in back 1988.

"I'm the first generation my sons are in the choir, my grandchild is back here," said Rosemary Casey, one of the cast members.

Over the years the nativity has grown, the most elaborate part of the experience is Bethlehem. This year there is also something new. if you do not want to drive, you can take one of four trams.

"I think it gets more people to come," said Adrianna Coelho of Lemoore. "We get to go out in bigger groups at a time instead of waiting in the car and you get to see it better than in a car."

Last year the Living Nativity saw about 7,500 people which is actually a larger population than the town of Riverdale. The living nativity is going on now until Christmas night from 6 to 9 and it is free of charge.
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