WORTH THE DRIVE: Walk through one of the nation’s largest life-size nativity scenes

Located just a short hour-and-a-half drive east from Dayton, the city of Lancaster, Ohio, hosts arguably one of the most impressive nativity displays in the country.

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The Fontanini Nativity Display, situated within Crossroads Ministry Center, is the largest indoor walk-through nativity scene east of the Mississippi, the event's organizers say. It features large-scale Fontanini figures.

Visitors to this nativity scene, open through the end of December, can walk through the streets of Bethlehem, the shepherd’s field and the manger. Biblical figures crafted in Italy, along with other sounds and smells, will help visitors imagine what the first Christmas might have looked like.

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Along with dozens of figures and realistic recreations of the first Christmas, visitors can also peruse the written information about Bethlehem and stories behind the nativity scenes.

The project was launched in 2001 by the Crossroads Ministry Center, owned by First United Methodist Church in Lancaster. The palm tree in the nativity scene represents new life, fertility and longevity. The figures in these scenes are purchased by members of the church in memory or in honor of loved ones.

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The walk-through nativity is open to visitors every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday in December from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free.


What: The Fontanini Nativity Display

Where: Crossroads Ministry Center, 2095 West Fair Ave., Lancaster

When: Every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday in December from 6-9 p.m.

Cost: Free

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