Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — A very visible focal point of the community’s yuletide celebration for decades, Medina’s State Street Park Christmas display of lighted trees and Nativity scene is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
It was in the fall of 1962 that the late Rev. Burton Entriken, who was pastor of the First Baptist Church, spearheaded the effort to develop a panoramic display in the park feating life sized Nativity figures along with a large number of lighted evergreen trees.
“This does not have to be an expensive program if every church will accept part of the job. It’s something whereby the community can join in a full cooperative effort,” Rev. Entriken told the Chamber of Commerce in outlining his vision for the display.
Entriken’s idea quickly took hold as a number of local churches pitched in to erect scenes pertaining to the Nativity. They included the manger scene by the Sacred Heart Church, the Wise men at the manger by the First Methodist Church, the Wise men with camels coming from the East by St. Mary’s Church, the Shepherds at the manager by the First Baptist Church and the carolers by St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Rev. Entriken also cited the assistance provided by the village Department of Public Works, noting that it has “cooperated to a very large extend in this project”, a cooperative assistance which has continued every year.
In addition that first year, some 20 local clubs and organizations furnished the lights for the trees. And the trees themselves were a gift of local retail merchant Jack Wylam.
And on what was described as a “biting cold evening” in early December a good number of volunteers came to the park to set up the colorful display for the first time.
That first evening of work began an annual tradition which continues today. Led by the Decorate Medina committee and the Lions Club, various club and organization representatives and residents come to the park to volunteer to set up the display, which along with the Main Street and Rotary Park displays combine to a yuletide display that has become well known around Western New York.