Chipping Sodbury church thrilled with record turnout to crib festival

Gazette Series: Rhiannon Green, nine, takes a closer look at one of the cribs in the festival Rhiannon Green, nine, takes a closer look at one of the cribs in the festival

A CHIPPING Sodbury church is celebrating a record year for its now annual crib festival.

St John’s Church welcomed thousands of people over the course of the five-day festival with 1,000 more visitors turning out to see the display of Nativity scenes than last year.

In total, 4,500 people went to the church between Wednesday and Sunday (December 4 to 8) where they viewed hundreds of crib scenes including figures made from materials such as terracotta, glass, stone and pipe cleaners.

The Knitivity, a life-size Nativity scene made from wool for St Peter’s Hospice, was also on display at the festival.

As well as the exhibits, the church also staged a series of activities including origami, lantern making and Christmas crafts for children. A clown entertained on Saturday, Chipping Sodbury School pupils sang and donkeys were kept at the back of the church for a touch of authenticity.

During Chipping Sodbury’s Victorian Evening on Friday, more than 2,700 visitors pakced into the church to see the cribs.

Team rector at St John’s, the Rev Jane Kenchington, said the event had been a ‘tremendous’ success which had enticed non-churchgoers into St John’s “It has gone really really well,” she said. “We had a lot of people coming back after visiting us in previous years and at least three had made their own Nativity scenes after seeing the display last year.

“We were told the event was the talk of the town and we are thrilled at how it went.”

She said the festival had been a team effort.

“We needed between 10 and 12 volunteers per hour,” said Rev Kenchington. “A lot of them helped at multiple sessions with some coming in every day to help.

“I want to say a big thank you to them all and I think most were thrilled to see the church they have been coming to for years packed with people.”

She said following the success of the festival this year the team would be foolish not to hold the event again in 2014.

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