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Oak Grove man's nativity set marks 50-year milestone

| Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 9:15 p.m.
This nativity scene marks its 50th year in Ligonier Valley. It was first purchased by Ligonier Borough to display on the Diamond in 1962. It is now owned by Frank Porembka Jr. of Oak Grove.

Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo

Photo taken by Bill Pribisco in Oak Grove Dec. 21, 2012
Bill Pribisco
This nativity scene marks its 50th year in Ligonier Valley. It was first purchased by Ligonier Borough to display on the Diamond in 1962. It is now owned by Frank Porembka Jr. of Oak Grove. Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo Photo taken by Bill Pribisco in Oak Grove Dec. 21, 2012

Frank Porembka has been collecting nativity sets since he was a small child. So when heard a nativity set, that had been on display on the Diamond since the early 1960s, was up for sale, he knew he had to add it to his collection.

Porembka, 61, of Oak Grove remembered visiting the nativity scene on the Ligonier Diamond since was 4-years old.

“I have always found nativity scenes attractive,” said Porembka. “My parents would come to Ligonier to shop at the ‘5 and 10' store and I would race over to see the nativity when it used to be set up across from the store.”

The nativity that Porembka purchased from the borough first appeared on the Diamond in 1962.

“I found out it was for sell about 10 years ago,” he said. “It was damaged and needed repairs. I think I paid around $100 for it, at the time.”

Porembka displays the nativity in his front yard every Christmas. He said he has collected more than 20 nativities and keep several up inside his home all year round.

“This year marks 50 years since the borough purchased the nativity. It was manufactured in 1958 by Mold Craft Inc. in Port Washington, Wisconsin,” Porembka said.

The polystyrene set includes Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, three kings, an angel and two sheep.

Porembka said he added a star and built a barn to house the scene.

“When I saw it was for sale, I had to have it. It is a piece of history. And, it reminds me of my childhood,” said Porembka.

Because of his love for the nativity sets, Porembka said his parents, Helen and the late Frank Porembka of Oakgrove, donated a Hummel figurine nativity set to St. Johns Church , in 1955, The set is still displayed at the Wilpen church every Christmas, he said. They also donated funds in 1956 for the nativity mural that appears on the ceiling of the church.

“I like them because they represent a mixture of the wealthy and wise and the humble and poor surrounded by animals,” said Porembka.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or dbrehun@tribweb.com.

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