By BRAD KELLAR
Tonight is the last night of an annual Greenville Christmas tradition which has been presented for almost five decades.
The performance of the live Nativity program at Ridgecrest Baptist Church concludes this evening, at its annual location on the south side of the church at 6801 Wesley Street. The presentation is scheduled from 7 until 9 p.m.
The Nativity is always scheduled to be performed on Dec. 20-24, during the five evenings before Christmas.
The live Nativity program is celebrating its 47th year.
The performance requires 36 people per night, with four shifts of nine people rotating every 30 minutes. Inside the church is a volunteer staff assisting with technical aspects, costumes and refreshments.
The Nativity began in 1965, which was also the year the church itself was organized. At that time, the church met in the former Travis Elementary School building at Wesley and Oneal Streets.
The Nativity has been presented each year since, with the exception of 1973, when the energy crisis resulted in a federally-mandated reduction of electricity.
Several groups sign up to participate each year, including some from the church’s Hispanic affiliate, Mission Bautista Ridgecrest.