Larger-than-life Nativity shines on hilltop for 40 years

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
This Nativity scene with larger-than-life figures has been shining brightly on a hilltop in the community for at least 40 years. It can be easily seen from a distance, while driving by on Highway 248, or from the Cassville city park. Julia Kilmer/

Sacred scene brings Christmas spirit to community

Christmas is a busy season, with its shopping, holiday eating, family celebrations, work parties and extended to-do lists.

As shoppers rush home with their treasures, they may have noticed an unusually large Nativity scene perched high on a hilltop while driving into or out of town on Highway 248.

Mary and the Baby Jesus are the focal point of the large Nativity scene that has sat on the cliffs of Oak Hill Cemetery for nearly 40 years. Julia Kilmer/

Nativity scenes representing the biblical origins of Christmas are commonplace during the holiday season, but this one is a little different, as it has shone bright on the cliffs below Oak Hill Cemetery for what is believed to be at least 40 years.

Its been there as far back as I can remember, said Jennifer Privett, Cassville municipal court administrator. Its always been on that hill.

Previous Cassville resident, the late Frances Latimer, designed and painted the scene. Latimer moved to Cassville in 1976, and was an artist artist until her retirement. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Cassville and died in May 2007.

In March 2014, a donation from Commerce Bank to Progress and Action through Community Effort (PACE), a non-profit, volunteer organization that aims to promote economic and environmental well-being in Cassville, helped contribute to repairs and maintenance of the Nativity scene, along with the Christmas lights around the square.

According to Privett, the Cassville public works department puts up the Nativity scene each year after Thanksgiving, which includes a larger-than-life-sized Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, three wise men, shepherds with their sheep, and two angels.

We want to make sure its up before the Christmas parade takes place, Privett said.

Its quite a project to set up the large figures and bright lights that enable the scene to be spotted from a distance.

It takes them a full day, Privett said.

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