December 11, 2013

Holiday tradition: Twelve Mile pageant this weekend

43rd Twelve Mile Christmas Pageant taking place this weekend

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — TWELVE MILE — Once everyone is in their spots and the chaos of preparation has subsided, Kathy Buczkowski, likes to sit in Plank Hill Park and watch the nativity story scenes come to life before her eyes.

Buczkowski, chairperson of the Twelve Mile Christmas Pageant committee, will be able to do just that Saturday and Sunday during the town’s 43rd annual pageant.

The annual Christmas event will take place 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Plank Hill Park on Ind. 16 in Twelve Mile.

Although the drive-through pageant is free, donations are accepted, as they go to the pageant upkeep. In the past, funds have been given to a nonprofit organization. Some of the funding this year will be used to pay for the Twelve Mile Christmas street decorations.

A vehicle traveling through the park will be greeted by Mr. and Mrs. Claus, elves and a singing Christmas tree. Once in the park, there will be multiple scenes from the biblical nativity story.

There will be a scene with Mary being visited by Gabriel and Mary and Joseph arriving at the inn. There will be a living donkey and sheep. The end of park will include Mary, Joseph and a manger, an empty cross and an empty tomb, and the last scene will feature Jesus ascending to heaven, Buczkowski said.

Buczkowski, who has been involved in the pageant since she was a young girl, said it’s always a joy to see the community come together for the pageant. About 200 volunteers make it happen every year.

“I just try to stop and think how many people give up their time to make this happen,” Buczkowski said.

Other volunteers will be donning middle-eastern costumes in the various scenes from the nativity story. The pageant will take place “rain or shine,” Buszkowski said.

“This is a neat way to tell what Christmas is about,” Buczkowski said.

There have been as many as 600 cars drive through Plank Hill Park during the annual pageant.

Gail Byrum, pageant volunteer coordinator, encourages people to take their time through the park. Byrum, who has been involved with the pageant since the early 1970s, said drivers should put their windows down, listen to the music and stop at a scene if needed on the way through the park.

Byrum has been working with volunteers to schedule friends and family members in groups together. There will be a break for those standing in the cold. One group will be outside for the first hour and a different group will be outside for the second hour.

“You don’t experience the real Christmas until you have walked the steps of Jesus’ birth, life,” Byrum said. “There would be no Christmas without it.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or Follow her: @PharosAES.

If you go: WHAT: 43rd annual Twelve Mile Christmas pageant WHEN: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday WHERE: Plank Hill Park, Twelve Mile