COLUMBIA CITY — A 31-year Whitley County tradition may be stopped in its tracks this year, and the planning committee is asking for your help.

Beginning in 1984 with one man’s vision, churches in the community have put on a Christmas at the Courthouse celebration including a seven-scene live nativity, live local musical talent and storytelling in the courthouse.

Over the last several years, however, the number of volunteers on the board shrunk and, this year, chairman Craig Crosson and secretary Ginger Crosson fear the lack of interest means the tradition cannot continue.

“We need younger people with energy and fresh ideas to keep the celebration inviting,” Crosson wrote in a letter. “[The] present committee members are burned out or age prevents them from continuing.”

At the Oct. 29 planning meeting, three new volunteers commented on why the celebration is important enough for their time.

“I like being involved in the community and I love the small town feel,” said Tamela Hamilton. “I have four kids and I’d like them to be involved, because Christmas is my favorite time of year.”

Kathy and Phil Ehinger discovered the committee through one of the Crossons’ many church visits.

“Since we retired, we wanted to be more involved so when [the Crossons] came I felt moved to help,” Ehinger said. “It seemed like a good use of our time.”

The tradition still needs the help of volunteers for its 65 cast members in the nativity scene and to reinvigorate the tired committee members.

If you are interested in volunteering for the non-denominational event, contact Craig Crosson at 327-3708 or

If you would like to participate in the cast for this year’s nativity scene, contact Wendi Barnett at 723-4566.