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SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - More than 1,000 performers, including a newborn infant, a camel named Cosmo and part of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, re-enacted the nativity scene in Utah this week, seeking a place in the Guinness World Records as the largest living crèche ever assembled.
Organizers said planning and coordination for the nativity came together over about four weeks, starting with a plea on social media for volunteers willing to “stand out in the cold for 5-7 hours and follow directions.”
The effort culminated on Monday with 1,039 people, joined by the camel, a donkey and several sheep, dressed in nativity costumes at Rock Canyon Park in Provo, at the base of the Wasatch Mountains south of Salt Lake City.
“All these little miracles came out of nowhere. We needed animals, and all these people volunteered their animals,” said Derral Eves, a social media and online marketing consultant who helped produce the event.
“The purpose is to remember the true meaning of Christmas by sharing the gift, which is our devotion to Jesus Christ,” Eves told Reuters on Tuesday.
One volunteer, Theron Harmon, helped coordinate the sewing of nearly 1,000 angel costumes worn by participants ranging in age from 4 to 90, Eves said.
The production included musical performances by former "American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta, a keyboard ensemble called the Piano Guys and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Some members of the choir also took part in the crèche itself.
But the star of the production was 2-week-old Hudson Scott, the newborn son of Piano Guys producer Shaye Scott and his wife, Amanda. Hudson played the part of the baby Jesus.
Eves said Guinness World Records judge Michael Empric witnessed the gathering, which he said surpassed the previous record for the most people participating in a live nativity scene - 898 - set last year in Britain. Calls to Guinness World Records to confirm the new benchmark were not immediately returned.
A video of the enormous nativity is being produced by Eves, who plans to release it Dec. 12 on the Piano Guys website, he said.
Editing by Steve Gorman and Peter Cooney