December 7, 2012

OUR VIEW: Carrying on a Christmas tradition

— The community of Twelve Mile this weekend will stage its 42nd annual Christmas pageant. It’s a show you won’t want to miss.

The pageant features 16 scenes, including a portrayal of Mary finding out she is with child and a re-enactment of the birth of Jesus. There is also a scene with Santa Claus and a live tree filled with carolers.

This annual holiday tradition is truly a community event.

It all started when Clifton Skinner, an employee at what was then Bunker Hill Air Force Base, organized a pageant based in part on a tradition at the base of placing Christmas-themed displays in front of each barracks.

More than a quarter of the town’s 1,100 or so residents band together each year to put on the pageant. Some gather the weekend before to help in setting up the displays that tell the story of Christmas.

This weekend, more than 100 people each night will portray the characters in the various scenes. Still other residents bake cookies for the event or direct traffic. Others make costumes and help the characters get dressed for the show.

Some of the volunteers have been involved almost from the beginning. Others will be watching their grandchildren perform the roles they once performed.

Several traditional Christmas themes come together in the drive-through pageant. Opening scenes show carolers, angels, elves in Santa’s workshop and an old-fashioned family Christmas gathering. Later on, a series of scenes depict the Christmas story narrated on storyboards, complete with a live donkey, sheep and other animals.

For many residents of Cass County and the surrounding area, the holiday season simply isn’t complete without a drive or a walk through the Twelve Mile Christmas Pageant.

Cass County owes a debt of gratitude to the many volunteers who have kept this tradition going now for more than four decades, and we offer the hope that they will keep it going for many years to come.

Want to go?

What: Twelve Mile Christmas Pageant

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Plank Hill Park, Twelve Mile

Directions: Twelve Mile is on Ind. 16, about midway between U.S. 31 and Ind. 25

Cost: Donations accepted. Proceeds benefit the Salvation Army.