Langdale updates nativity scene

Published 11:50 am Monday, October 12, 2020

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VALLEY — The Langdale Nativity will be getting a new look this year. The life-size figures representing the Biblical characters present at the birth of Jesus are getting new wardrobes for the coming Christmas season. The shepherds, wise men, angel, Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus will be in traditional attire, but it will be brand new. A local seamstress is now in the process of making the garments.

EAMC-Lanier Hospital donated $300 to fund the cost of doing this. An estimated $265 has been spent on the material that’s needed.

The Langdale Nativity is a local Christmas tradition that began in 1948. In the first few years, it was displayed in front of Langdale Mill. It later moved to Langdale Meadow, where it would be on view for many a Christmas season.

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The frequent flooding of nearby Moore’s Creek resulted in many of the life-sized figures being washed away into the Chattahoochee River or severely damaged by the floodwaters, One year a shepherd was saved from the Chattahoochee when the hook on his shepherd’s staff luckily caught hold of a concrete pillar underneath the bridge on Fob James Drive.

Several years ago, the Kiwanis Club of Valley made a significant investment into new animals for the scene. Included were lifelike cows, sheep and a new camel. Not wanting to risk them to a flood, club members decided to relocate the scene to an area between the Langdale Methodist Church and the historic Iron Bridge. The scene will be displayed here once again this year with the characters being dressed in their new duds.

Other traditions to resume this year include the Christmas Merry Go Round and the Madonna and Christ Child. The Merry Go Round tradition started in 1956. It was on a little league ball field for most of those years, on Shawmut Circle for one year in 1968 and most recently on the old tennis courts in Langdale. The Madonna and Christ Child got its start in 1961. For many years it has lighted the skies from a radio tower outside the former West Point Manufacturing Company Service Division building. It was designed by the late James Bledsoe, who was the personnel and safety director of the Service Division at the time.