Thursday, July 2, 2020
Nativity Boasting Fontanini Collectibles on Display
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Sunday, December 22, 2019
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

A large nativity featuring collectible Fontanini figurines is on display today and Christmas Eve at Valley of Peace Lutheran Church in Hailey.

The nativity will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today—Sunday, Dec. 22—and on Christmas Eve from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the church. The church is in Hailey’s Woodside neighborhood at 740 Wintergreen. The nativity also can be seen during church services.

The nativity was built by pastor Jerry Reinke. The town of Bethlehem is populated by nearly two dozen collectable figures, including buildings and characters from the Christmas story.

The original Fontanini figurines were crafted by the descendants of northern Italy’s Emanuele Fontanini. They celebrate 111 years of tradition, beginning with a company that started in 1908 in the small village of Bagni di Lucca in Tuscany.

Even today fourth-generation craftsmen labor to build the detailed figurines, which are known for the intensity of their faces and lifelike sculpting. Each piece is hand painted.

One figure can take up to two years to create and cost thousands of dollars. The Fontaninis also create nativity snow globes and outdoor nativity displays created with nearly indestructible polymer resin

The church is decorated with more than 20 nativities or creches and a beautiful Christmas tree besides. Children may participate in a scavenger hunt to find the nativities on display throughout the building.

A nativity, or creche is a three-dimensional representation of the Nativity scene. It usually includes the infant Jesus in a manager, Mary and Joseph, animals, shepherds, angels and the Magi. Interestingly enough, St. Francis of Assisi is credited with popularizing the nativity. But the use of creches probably existed earlier. They reached their zenith during the 17th and 18th centuries in southern Europe and are still considered an art form found inside and outside every home in Italy-.

Valley of Peace Lutheran Church is also inviting the public to join it for caroling at 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve.

 

 

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