Recalling the live Nativity scene at Fremont Park 70 years ago

by Linda Hubbard on December 24, 2020

Growing up in Menlo Park, I remember a Nativity scene each year in Fremont Park. But I am too young to member a live Nativity scene sponsored by the Menlo Park Lions Club in 1950.

Lions Club member Jim Bigelow was good enough to pull out the Club’s scrapbooks and photograph some press clippings and photos.

A newspaper article dated Dec. 20, 1950 reads: “A colorful Nativity pageant, arranged by the Menlo Park Lions and featuring choral groups from four Menlo Park churches, will be presented nightly at 8:00 Wednesday through Saturday at Fremont Park at Santa Cruz Ave. and University Drive.

“Lions has built and lighted the detailed scene and will enact events of the Nativity each night while a narrator reads the Christmas story as told by St. Luke, and the choruses provide a musical background.”

Participating choirs were the Church of the Nativity, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, the Menalto Choral Club and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. They sang O Little town of Bethlehem, The First Noel and Adeste Fideles.

The article concludes: “In the stable scene, there will be live animals, including sheep and a pair of donkeys rounded up the the Lions. The scene was built and will be portrayed by members of the Club as a gift to churches of the community.”

Quite something, huh? But back to the original question: Does anyone remember the not live Nativity scene that followed this earlier enactment?


One Comment

Rick Moen December 26, 2020 at 10:59 am

I definitely recall the Nativity creche setup at Fremont Park in the 1960s. I never knew anything about it, but it was a reliable part of my childhood — like Santa’s Village.

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