Historic Cedar Rapids Nativity Scene Finally Back After Flood

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

Plaster statues from the Armstrong-Smulekoff Nativity scene await to be displayed at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on December 1, 2010 in Cedar Rapids. Volunteers spent over 200 hours restoring and repairing the 10 statues that were damaged from the 2008 floods. (Erik Arendt/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Kelli Sutterman

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A Cedar Rapids tradition will once again live on this Christmas season.

Once thought to be a loss in the floods, the Armstrong-Smulekoff Nativity Scene will make a comeback this Friday. Thanks to hours of effort by volunteers, the set is completely restored.

“It was covered in flood muck, so we had to clean that first, and then do a lot of scraping off old paint, re-painting and filling in plaster holes,” said Laure Schaerr, who spearheaded the project.

For the past year the set of twelve has been in Schaerr’s garage, where she and others have worked to bring it back to life.

“The rewarding part is to hear that this is meaningful to other people and they appreciate the things we’ve done to bring this back to the community,” she said.

Friday the set will be revealed to the public for the first time since Christmas of 2007 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 4150 Blue Jay Drive NE in Cedar Rapids. It will be the center piece of a non-denominational community exhibit of nativity scenes.

Admission is free, and the event begins at 11a.m. on both Friday and Saturday of this week. More information is available at: crnativity.org

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