Nestled into a quiet library in the town of St-Georges is one of Manitoba’s best kept secrets. You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the collection of crèches, or nativity scenes, that this little town holds near and dear to its heart. See it for yourself: the collection of over 150 nativity scenes is on display at the Festival des Crèches, happening from now until January 5, 2018 in St-Georges, Manitoba.
While its location and display remains humble (for now, there are plans to move the festival into the new town museum next year), it’s the heart of the collection that will leave an impression.
The crèches are a community effort – an obsession maybe – of crawling Kijiji and garage sales from around the world for rare nativity finds. Beyond this, many pieces in the collection were donated by so-and-so’s son, the one who traveled to South Africa, Indonesia or Russia and kept his eyes peeled for nativity scenes for the festival. I was amazed at how many people were keeping this little library in mind, no matter where they were in the world.
The festival is a true testament to the power of collaboration, with many of the nativity scenes donated in a partnership with Ten Thousand Villages (made by crafters and makers in their respective countries) or otherwise purchased by giving individuals who want to see the collection grow.
The library has lofty goals for the festival. Ideally, the library wants one crèche representing every town or community in Manitoba. While some of the pieces are mass produced (like the specialty collection from Avon), the majority of the collection is made up of handmade pieces.
New this year is an exquisite piece by Carver King Mike Winia, who visited Manitoba for Festival du Voyageur but also made a stop in St-Georges for their winter festival. The amazing nativity carving was acquired by the museum through grants and will be on display during the festival.
With a new museum currently being built in St-Georges, the festival is looking forward to moving into the new space, and have plans to host bus tours from Winnipeg with stops to the museum and a lunch in the church next door.
104086 PTH 11, St. Georges, MB
November 28, 2017 to January 5, 2018
Tuesday 10:30 to 5:00 pm
Wednesday & Thursday 12:00 to 8:00 pm
Friday 12:00 to 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 to 3:30 pm
Free, donation optional