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April 2014


Nativity on display for three decades of holidays

It's been 30 years since Mukwonago Lioness Club member Jean Rapp ordered the nativity scene people have seen sitting in the center of the Village of Mukwonago every Christmas season.

Before then there had been a small nativity in what Mary Sugden called the first roundabout in the village, but when the roads were rerouted, the Lioness Club decided to purchase a larger nativity scene to display in the village.

Since then, some figures were added, some stolen, some replaced, but it's a project that remains near and dear to Sugden's heart. People ask her why she doesn't let someone else take over the project.

"I just love it so much. I just can't give it up; it's my baby," she explained.

The group, including Sugden, has given up climbing into the trees to decorate, but the beginning of Advent marks the day the Lioness members - with help from Mukwonago Lions Club members - gather to create the manger scene.

About 10 years ago, the baby Jesus was stolen, Sugden said. The group replaced the figure, and it was stolen again a couple of years ago.

"We never got any hide nor hair of who took it," Sugden explained. "That was just a shame."

When a friend of Sugden's offered a doll that was about the size of the infant figure in the nativity, Sugden jumped at accepting the donation.

The figures are expensive. About six years ago a ladies group at St. James Church that was disbanding donated $700 to the Lioness group, which was used to purchase the angel standing outside the crèche. Several small sheep have also had to be replaced.

Lion Darold Kukowski has helped repair figures, putting the head back on the donkey, fixing the donkey's ear and fixing the head of one of the lambs.

"He has always been my right-hand man," said Sugden.

The Saturday after Epiphany the nativity comes down, to be stored in the basement of the Village Hall for another year. Sugden recalls one year the group went to take the scene down and found a little knit blanket over baby Jesus. They liked the gesture so much they put the blanket back on again for several years before it was taken from the nativity scene.

"Unless it falls apart or I fall apart, I will probably try to keep doing it," Sugden added.

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