TIFTON -- One of the new features for this year's Hometown Holidays Celebration is the Streets of Bethlehem live nativity scenes that will be featured downtown Saturday night.

Cindy Evers, the organizer for the event, said several churches around Tift County will be taking part in the event.

"We've been involved every year but this year, in the spirit of the season, we wanted to do something a little different," she said. "We appreciate the freedom to do that and the freedom to exercise our rights."

Evers said about 10 churches of several different denominations will have members in the scenes, which will be located on both sides of First Street by the Myon Complex. She believes that cooperation belies the purpose behind the display.

"They've taken the commandments out of the courtrooms," she said. "I think it's really cool that we get to exercise our freedom of religion. There is no such animal as the separation of church and state, it doesn't say it in the Constitution. It doesn't say you can't have religion. We're just thrilled that we have the chance to be a part of this."

The Streets of Bethlehem will be one part of the festivities Saturday night as downtown Tifton is transformed into a Christmas carnival.

But before Saturday night, the festival continues tonight with the "Blast from the Past" rock and roll show at the Tift Theatre. Beginning at 8 p.m., Todd Herendeen will star as Elvis Presley, B.B. Secrist will perform as Jerry Lee Lewis and Dorothy Varnadore will be Patsy Cline in one of the most anticipated shows at the theatre in years. Tickets are $15 and are general admission. Anyone wishing to purchase a ticket can call 386-5150.

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