RESIDENTS EMBRACE HOLIDAY SEASON.
LANCASTER -- Antelope Valley residents begin celebrating the holidays this weekend in a big way: a downtown Lancaster street festival; parades in Lancaster and Rosamond; plus a Christmas creche display during which visitors can join in a sing-along version of ``The Messiah.''
Lancaster Boulevard businesses will welcome shoppers and holiday revelers from 5:30 to 8 tonight for the annual Hospitality Walk on the blocks between 10th Street West and Sierra Highway, offering hot chocolate and cookies, hay rides, and Santa Claus at the Western Hotel Museum.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Lancaster's annual Christmas/Holiday Parade will roll along the boulevard with 22 marching bands, plus more than 120 other entries including floats, car clubs and youth groups.
The parade begins at 10th Street West and runs east to Sierra Highway.
In Rosamond, the 11th annual Christmas parade will feature floats and vehicles decorated with lights at 6 p.m. Saturday. The event begins with a performance by the Tropico Middle School choir and band at 5:30 p.m. on Diamond Street south of Rosamond Boulevard, with the parade running along Diamond Street.
At the annual Christmas Creche Art and Music Festival hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations, just about every conceivable material and style gets used to depict Jesus' birth in a Bethlehem stable.
The four-day creche festival, which opens tonight, contains more than 1,100 nativity scenes.
They include one made from coal in West Virginia, one made from volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens, an Apache nativity scene with Yaqui, Hopi and Navajo wise men, a fiber-optic musical creche, and a cross-stitched scene that took 14 years to make with beads and gold thread on five fabric panels.
The festival's high point is a sing-along at 5 p.m. Sunday when the audience joins in singing the chorus parts to Handel's ``The Messiah,'' accompanied by an interdenominational orchestra and organists.
The festival runs from 4 to 9 p.m. today, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, noonto 7 p.m. Sunday, and noonto 6p.m. Monday at the the LDS East Lancaster Stake Center, on Avenue J at 27th Street East. Admission is free.
A chorale festival at 7 tonight will feature choirs from Antelope Valley, Highland, Lancaster, Littlerock, Palmdale, Paraclete, Knight and Vasquez high schools.
(1) Rachel Dunn, 17, left, and her mother, Lee Ann Dunn, of Lancaster work on creches Thursday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Lancaster. The Christmas Creche Art and Music Festival, featuring more than 1,100 nativity scenes, opens tonight.
(2 -- 3) Cindy Fassett of Lancaster holds tiny figurines from Africa, left, from her collection of creches at the Christmas Creche Art and Music Festival. Ivy L. Clay's nativity scene, right, made of volcanic ash from Mount St. Helens, is also on display.
Jeff Goldwater/Staff Photographer