The crèche from St. Perpetua Parish in Lafayette was entirely edible, formed from gingerbread, marzipan, royal icing and pastillage.
Pupils at St. Paul School in San Pablo used Lego plastic blocks to tell their nativity story.
All: josÉ luis aguirre/The Catholic Voice
The story of the Nativity was depicted more than 50 times over — in fabric, wood and even gingerbread — at the 2013 Crèche Festival, which drew the largest number of participants in its four-year history, organizers said. From Dec. 13 to 15, about 3,300 people toured the crèches, submitted by parishes, schools and ethnic centers in the diocese.
New this year was a tour, luncheon and lecture for senior citizens, which drew 125 people from six parishes, including 48 from one parish.
Visitors also saw displays by professional florists, as well as concerts, including a sold-out performance in the cathedral by Chanticleer.
Also sharing their musical talents over the weekend were choir and dancers from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Oakland; the choir of St. Patrick Parish in Rodeo; the choir of St. Joseph Parish in Pinole; the St. Philip Neri Parish choir, Alameda; and the Bel Canto Flute Choir.
More than 100 people attended a lecture by the Rev. Joseph Chinnici, OFM.
The parish and school crèches showed great creativity. Some Nativity stories were told lovingly by children, using child-friendly materials such as Legos (St. Paul, San Pablo), Playmobil figures (St. Mary Magdalen, Berkeley), painted rocks (St. Leander, San Leandro), painted cardboard with children's photos (All Saints, Hayward), felt and Styrofoam (St. Joachim Parish, Hayward) and yarn (St. Michael, Livermore).
"Yes, the display is all edible," read the sign in front of the offering from St. Perpetua Parish in Lafayette, which noted that 150 hours had gone into the making of the scene, which was formed from gingerbread, marzipan, royal icing and pastillage.
"The level of creativity is extraordinary and always surprising, as no year is ever the same as the last," said Leo Keegan, director of docent and ministerial services at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, who coordinated the event.
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