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Reason for the season
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Prinkey family’s nativity scene shares true meaning of Christmas
By Carol McInire
Nearly 30 years ago, Vera Prinkey set up a small nativity scene in her yard as a way to share the true meaning of Christmas with her community.
Today, at age 80, her mission remains the same.
“I love Jesus and I want people to know what Christmas is really about – Jesus’ birth,” she said standing near the nearly life-sized nativity scene that occupies a large portion of the knoll in her front yard, facing Salineville Rd. (SR 39).
“It’s grown a lot since we set up the first nativity scene,” said her son, Willie Prinkey, who was there when it began in the early 1990s.
“She started with the main characters, Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus,” he said, sharing the story. “She bought them at the Creegan Company in Steubenville.”
The project quickly became a family affair and has grown to include, not only her children, Willie and Yvonne Cook, but her grandchildren, Jaden and Graden Cook and Wryden and Wrysen Prinkey.
“After she bought the main characters, I went back to the Creegan Company and bought some sheep and started giving pieces to her each year. Then the grandkids started buying her pieces to add each year.”
Today the blown-mold lighted display includes 37 pieces, set in and around a stable Willie constructed in 1993 using wooden pallets. Along with Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, the scene includes an angel, shepherds, who were watching their flocks in the countryside near Bethlehem and, of course, a flock of sheep; the three Wise Men, who came bearing gifts, a donkey and camels.
“The stable is actually 12 separate pieces we put together each year when we set it up,” explained Willie. “It takes a god three days to set the entire thing up.”
A few years ago, Vera had electric service extended from the garage to the near where the scene is set up to cut down on the number of extension cords.
“That makes set-up a lot easier,” commented Willie, adding that the display begins to take shape in early December.
It is lit nightly from dusk to about 10:30 p.m. and will remain in place through the first week in January.
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