Popular Mormon nativity pageant this weekend in Cowichan

If you like a little tradition with your holiday celebrations, it’s almost time for the big nativity pageant at the Duncan Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Since 1992, friends and members of the area’s Mormon church have performed an outdoor rendition of the biblical first Christmas story as a gift for Cowichan Valley residents.

The traditional Christmas story of Jesus’s birth comes to life on an atmospheric set in the back lot of the Tzouhalem Road church, which is located near Providence Farm.

And it is realistic.

The shepherds really do abide in the fields and the wise men travel from the far-away east in this production.

And as for the appearance of the angel chorus, it’s always a must-see.

"The cast and crew are made up entirely of local volunteers with individuals and families of all sizes and ages, including adults and children. Wise men, shepherds, angelic choirs join Mary, Joseph, and the babe in the manger with a live animal cast including donkeys, goats, llamas and sheep. Come join us and warm yourself with hot chocolate inside the gym, provided by the kitchen crew who support each performance," said Carol Stiles, chair of the church’s public affairs committee.

Moving renditions of Christmas carols recorded by the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra embellish the performance.

As the event occurs outdoors in December, anyone attending should be sure that every member of the family is warmly dressed and ready for all weather.

There are plenty of metal chairs lined up for seating but lots of people bring a blanket or a sleeping bag to warm them up a bit.

A plastic garbage bag to put over a seat will be helpful if it’s been raining, so pack one if the evening is damp.

Admission to the shows is free but donations for the food bank are happily accepted.

Performances are scheduled for Dec. 22 and 23 with the first show at 6:30 p.m. and a second one at 7:30 p.m.. Each show takes about half an hour to complete.

Good weather could bring out more than 1,000 people over the two nights as the event has become a tradition for many families who prefer the old-fashioned "spirit" to pervade their holiday season.