Lights stolen from popular Hartville Nativity scene

HARTVILLE, Mo. -- A Christmas tradition continues Sunday in one Ozarks city, just days after thieves tried to turn out the lights.

"If we catch them, I think they should have to do community service up here and help us put it away," Karen Sinning said.

Every year since 1952 on the first Sunday of December high upon Steele Bluff in Hartville a Nativity scene shines bright.

"It's something really bright, pretty and everything and everybody really likes it," Vicki Stewart told KY3.

Speakers at the Nativity scene play classic Christmas music, which can be heard from downtown.

"It's tradition. It's community pride. It's just a good thing," Sinning added.

The Hartville Garden Club with the help of the local Lions Club, put the entire display together this year but someone had a different plan.

"We put them up on Monday and by Friday they were gone," Sinning explained.

Immediately, the community came together, buying new lights and extension cords.

Saturday afternoon, around a dozen people worked for hours to make sure the Nativity Scene could be lit by Sunday night.

Not just so people in Hartville can see it, but for those who come from miles away as tradition.

This is the 67th year for the scene.

"It was put up to be something the community could be proud of," said Sinning. "it's just something that always happens you know. We've had a lot of people come every year to see it, they don't live here any longer, and come by to see the nativity and then they put it on Facebook that they went by. It's very important to a lot of people."

The lights will come on every night at 5:30 and stay on the entire month of December.

"Everybody in Hartville pulls together. It's really a great community and whenever something needs to be done, they'll come together and do it," Stewart stated.

When the new year comes, the clubs wouldn't mind some extra hands to help take the scene down.

If you have any information on who might be responsible for the theft contact the Hartville Police Department or the Wright County Sheriff's Office.