By Michelle Caceres

For the past three years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hosted the Brandon Community Festival of the Nativity, bringing together individuals, young and old, to enjoy hundreds of nativities from all across the world and to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ.

This year’s festival will take place on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at 4806 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico and is the perfect way to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.

More than 200 crèche will be beautifully exhibited, depicting the nativity scene in sculpture, painting and other media. A live outdoor nativity depicting the scene in the stable in Jerusalem will also be on display.

A children’s chorus will provide prelude music in the chapel followed by a program featuring musical performances (singers, pianists, violinists, choirs) by talent of all ages.

In addition to the nativities, visitors can have their professional-quality family photograph taken and walk through the art appreciation room with scenes of Jesus’ life on display. Children young and old will create a keepsake arts and craft souvenir.

“An awful lot of hard work goes into this event from a group of committed people with a desire to serve the community,” said event co-chair Niecey Howell.

Admission to the event is free.

Crèche contributions are welcome from anyone in the community. If you have a nativity scene hiding up in your attic, take it down and donate it to the event. All nativities will be returned after the event.

Stake president Robert Howell looks forward to this event each year as a way to share the joy of the birth of Jesus with the community. “We hope that all those that come will feel the special peace this time of year brings to all,” he said.

For more information about the event or to donate crèche visit


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MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.