The Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in Spearfish puts on its 9th living nativity scene this year for families and friends to enjoy together.
The scene features real people and rescued animals from the sanctuary.
The non profit organization does not charge to view the living nativity but voluntary donations are collected.
Sanctuary founder Michael Welchynski says the scene started out with just about fifteen witnesses and now it's really grown. "Now thousands attend, so I think it's grown into a South Dakota thing and they are South Dakota animals. And I always think it's neat that the same species of animals that witnessed the birth of Christ so many hundreds of years ago can represent this in Spearfish," he said.
Wesley Wood went with his family. "My wife and stepson and stuff came up last weekend with the four H club and they said it was so awesome we have to come back tonight," he said.
The South Dakota Community Foundation offered to match up to $5,000 that the sanctuary fundraises through the nativity scene. From December 17th through the 24th the living nativity scene brought in about $5,600 in donations.
Welchynski says Christmas eve is the last night of the event so the volunteers can get out of the cold and spend time with their families.