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      Nativity scene in Albia is a tradition worth continuing

      A committee is raising money for a new nativity scene for the courthouse square in Albia.

      Albia is known as Iowa's Christmas Town, and the community is looking to make this year's holiday season the best yet.

      Last year, the town bought a new Santa and set of reindeer for their Christmas display on the courthouse square. This year, they're looking to purchase a 13-piece, life-size nativity scene. The pieces will be coming from Bronner's Christmas Store in Michigan, all American-made.

      A committee was formed to handle fundraising for the project, and members Catherine Burkman, Richard Grimes and Dave Paxton said they are about halfway to their goal.

      Fundraising continues until February 15, and if the order is placed by March, the town will get a special deal on the set. Albia's current nativity scene is over 40 years old, and the new pieces will bring new life to the community's favorite time of year.

      "Of course Ottumwa is very well known for its holiday lights, Oskaloosa has the lighted Christmas parade, the Victorian Stroll that Catherine's put together is just iconic, it's just amazing," Grimes said. "As Catherine, I think, said, with this life-sized nativity and everything else that's here, it's not just going to be a blessing for the people of the county, but for the whole area."

      Grimes said they have not received one negative word about the project, just constant support, which is what makes it special for people of all ages.

      "The kids are so excited," Burkman said. "To see their eyes light up... it's going to be great."

      The committee has received donations from Albia's churches, businesses and residents, as well as from people across the state who know how important the Christmas tradition is to the town.

      If you would like to help with the project, you can contact Catherine Burkman at First Iowa State Bank in Iowa, Dave Paxton at the Albia Newspaper, or send a donation to "Nativity" at PO Box 502 in Albia.