Christ­mas Cave’s 50th year

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Taihape - SAM KILMISTER

The magic of Christ­mas is back for the 50th year as a Manawatu¯ town recre­ates the rea­son for the sea­son.

A na­tiv­ity scene rep­re­sent­ing the birth of Je­sus is one of sev­eral ed­u­ca­tional themes for chil­dren as Feild­ing’s Christ­mas Cave opened at the week­end.

The ex­hi­bi­tion put on by Feild­ing Ro­tary boasts shin­ing lights, model trains and a real-life Santa all en­cased by a mil­i­tary para­chute to form a cave-like stage.

Eric Linklater has been at the helm of the cave for about 42 years.

It started back in the 1960s as a com­mu­nity ser­vice and has grown into an an­nual ex­trav­a­ganza at the Feild­ing Lit­tle Theatre, he said.

‘‘Two or three times a Christ­mas, a young kid will come by and say ‘wow’ and you think ‘that’s why we do it’.’’

Back in the 60s, Linklater re­called it tak­ing more than a cou­ple of weeks to in­stall the cave. They were us­ing a gi­ant scrim as a back­drop back then.

Now it took less than a week to pre­pare, and only a cou­ple of hours to pin up the mil­i­tary para­chute.

More than 2700 turned out last year and Linklater was hop­ing for about the same this sea­son.

The ex­hi­bi­tion in­volved 12 cu­bi­cles with var­i­ous dis­plays look­ing at dif­fer­ent as­pects of Christ­mas. There is also an ac­tiv­ity ta­ble for chil­dren.

Ro­tary mem­ber David Young said there was plenty there to keep smiles on faces.

‘‘I think we try and al­ter it and im­prove it each year. It’s get­ting big­ger and big­ger.’’

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