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Animals, people portray Nativity



Published: Thu, December 10, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

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LIVING NATIVITY: An Arabian camel overlooks the live Nativity erected Wednesday at 1216 Fifth Ave., Youngstown, in front of Park Vista Retirement Community. From left to right are: Dwayne Felger of Greenford, who supplied the animals; Sue Strom, a clinical dietitian at Park Vista, portraying Mary; Cathi Cassudakis, a dietetic technician at Park Vista, an angel; the Rev. Alan Hutchinson, Park Vista chaplain, portraying Joseph; and Annmarie Pierce, Park Vista activities director, a wise man.

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LIVING NATIVITY: Brothers, Gino, 5, left, and Rocco Pilolli, 6, of Youngstown stand with Dwayne Felger of Greenford, who supplied the animals; admiring the camel. The living Nativity will be open today from 3 to 6 p.m., weather permitting.

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LIVING NATIVITY: An Arabian camel overlooks the live Nativity erected Wednesday at 1216 Fifth Ave., Youngstown, in front of Park Vista Retirement Community. The living Nativity will be open today from 3 to 6 p.m., weather permitting.

The animals — a camel, donkey, sheep and yak — are tame and can be petted.

By William K. Alcorn

Park Vista Retirement Community, continuing a tradition of many years that began in Youngstown’s downtown, has a living Nativity scene with animals and human actors depicting the birth of Jesus.

The display is at 1216 Fifth Ave., the entrance to Park Vista.

The animals and their human friends braved rain, sleet and cold Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m., and will be on display again today from 3 to 6 p.m., weather permitting.

The animals — a dromedary camel, donkey, sheep and Tibetan yak, supplied by Dwayne Felger of Greenford — are tame and can be petted.

The actors, working in one-hour shifts, come from the Park Vista staff and various area churches, said the Rev. Alan Hutchinson, Park Vista chaplain, who played the part of Joseph from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Other players during that first hour Wednesday were Sue Strom, clinical dietitian, as Mary; Cathi Cassudakis, a dietetic technician, as an angel; and Annmarie Pierce, activities director, a wise man.

“I think it’s pretty cool. People drive by and wave and honk,” said Pierce.

A lot of neighborhood kids come to look and pet the animals, and Park Vista employees bring their children to the display, said the Rev. Mr. Hutchinson.

Half the joy in doing this is watching the people’s faces, said Felger, who also joins in the spirit of the occasion by dressing as a wise man.

alcorn@vindy.com


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