PROVO, Utah (AP) — More than 1,000 people dressed as angels, wise men and religious royalty gathered at a park in Provo, Utah, and set a new Guinness record for the largest live nativity scene.
The event on Monday featured a variety of performers who made videos posted on YouTube. It is also expected to serve as a backdrop for a music video.
Guinness World Record judge Michael Empric determined there were 1,039 participants in the production, along with a camel, donkey and sheep, the Daily Herald of Provo reported (http://bit.ly/1FJW2h8 ).
That tops the record of 898 people last year at a nativity scene in the United Kingdom.
Organizers, however, said breaking the record was secondary to emphasizing religious faith over Christmas-season shopping.
"We wanted to do it simply to show the world what Christmas is all about," said Derral Eves, one of the producers. "It is not all the presents, but it is about the true gift of Christmas — Jesus Christ."
The event was planned and put together in less than a month — thanks in large part to about 50 families that helped sew all the costumes, Eves said. Some of the costumes had battery-powered lights attached as trimming.
One woman sewed about 75 costumes, said Valerie Harmon, who organized the costume effort.
"It was sort of like an old-fashioned community sewing bee," Harmon said.
The event was promoted on social media, which is how Nathan Hutson of Bozeman, Montana, found out. Hutson, a Catholic, joined the mostly-Mormon group to be part of the nativity scene.
"The fact that this is an interfaith event is absolutely wonderful," Hutson told the newspaper. "It allows everyone to say — despite our differences in religion. we are all celebrating the birth of Christ."