Ashton Spirit of Christmas to include Nativity Scene display

This is one of the Nativity scenes that will be featured during the Nativity scene display to be held Dec. 4 during Ashton's Spirit of Christmas. 

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An Ashton woman is organizing a display of Nativity scenes for next month’s Ashton’s Spirit of Christmas.

Natalie Reynolds will set up the display at the old Key Bank on Main Street. It will be available for the public to view from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dec. 4.

Earlier this year, Reynolds approached Spirit of Christmas organizers about adding the Nativity display to the festivities.

“(It’s) so we could remember to focus on Christ and to work with the other churches in our community,” she said.

Reynolds says any Nativity scene will be welcome. They can be of any size and don’t need to fancy.

“I just hope for a variety. A variety would be fun,” she said.

The expectation is that residents will be willing to share their Nativity scenes for the event.

“Hopefully we’ll get a lot. A room full will be fun,” she said.

For more information on sharing a Nativity scene, email Reynolds at natreynolds99@gmail.com.

The display was added in hopes of giving area churches a way to be a part of the Spirit of Christmas, said Christine Dexter who is helping to organize this year’s Spirit of Christmas.

“(We) just wanted to do something that kind of combined all of the religions in town,” she said.

The Spirit of Christmas kicks off at 9 a.m., Dec. 4, with a craft fair at the Ashton Elementary School. The school’s second graders will sing at 12:30 p.m. while Santa will arrive at 1:30 p.m. At 5 p.m. the Pocket Park Christmas tree will be lit.

At 5:30, the Lighted Christmas Tractor Parade will be held. This year, Valley Wide Cooperative is sponsoring the event and will award prizes to the winners.

The parade is open to any vehicle as long as it is decorated with lights. Those interested in participating may fill out an application at Andrea’s Boutique on Main Street. There’s no admission fee, and participants will be accepted right up until the parade starts, Dexter said.

“I’ve got 11 entries already. We have firetrucks and EMS,” she said. “Sometimes, I don’t know who’s going to be there until they line up.”

Last year Simplot entered a huge “spreader” into the parade.

“It looked like a moving hotel,” Dexter said. “A little kid’s mouth dropped open. He couldn’t believe it.”

The 2020 parade also provided the most entries in the parade’s history, she said.

“Last year was our biggest one ever with 14. It’s gotten a little bit bigger every year. The first year we had four tractors that went up and down Main Street twice,” she said.

Also scheduled for this year is the second annual “Christmas in the Shadow of the Tetons” Christmas village display held in the first floor of the Museum of Henry’s Fork.

Joyce Leonard has spent several months working to upgrade the Christmas village. This year, visitors will notice how the village is reminiscent of Ashton at one time, she said.

“There’s a lot of new pieces that are repainted to make them look like Ashton buildings from our past,” she said.

Leonard noted that there is a new train display that shows a train going from Ashton to West Yellowstone. There’s also an exhibit featuring people feeding fish at Warm River. A Yellowstone Park Lodge will also be on display as will be two geysers.

Workers purchased more items to add to the Christmas village this year. In all, there are 100 large buildings plus 100 “medium pieces” that includes a horse and carriage. There are also 120 animal figurines, 40 mini cars and 200 mini people inside the village.

Leonard also spent several months this year painting murals on the walls surrounding the Christmas village.

“A new one is the Ashton Hill. Another new one is Henrys Lake,” she said. “I did a big mural of the train coming into Ashton past the depot and past Reinke Grain on the corner there.”

The Christmas village will be available to view from noon until 5 p.m. every day except Thursday during the week of Thanksgiving. It will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 10 and Dec. 13. During the week of Christmas, the Christmas village will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 20 through Dec. 24. It will be open again from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Dec. 27 through Dec. 29.

There is no charge to visit but donations are accepted.

Santa is also scheduled to visit the museum from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on both Dec. 10 and Dec. 17. Families may also bring their pets to have pictures taken with Jolly Old Saint Nick that day. A suggested donation price is $10.

For more information on the upcoming events call 208-351-9324.