Minden was declared Nebraska’s Christmas City in 1996 by Governor Ben Nelson in response to years of the annual light display and Light of the World pageant that has drawn spectators for years and embodies the holiday spirit. The pageant is now in its 70th year of entertaining the masses and welcoming Christmas with a dramatization of the nativity story.
The Light of the World pageant became an instant tradition following its successful debut December 8,1946. Harold Pedley, on behalf of the Minden Chamber of Commerce, had approached Clayton Morey with the request of preparing a special program in connection with the Warp family’s presentation of Carillonic bells to the community at Christmas. The timing and setting changed the course of a project Morey had begun with the help of Methodist Minister Arthur Johnson.
Before Pedley’s request, Morey was composing a passion piece to be presented during the summer at Kuper Field. Johnson, originally from Bayard, had supplied the idea as well as pertinent scripture for the piece. The show would be modelled on the production in his hometown where spotlights aimed at Chimney Rock symbolize the finger of God. Changing the location to the courthouse lawn, utilizing the new sound system donated by the Warp brothers, and taking advantage of the impressive lights display, Morey refocused his script on just the nativity story and created a unique piece specifically for the community.
see December 7 Courier for full story