What’s likely Iowa’s most famous nativity scene is on display for the holiday season in Algona at the Kossuth County Fairgrounds. The scene was created by a German prisoner during World War Two at the P-O-W camp that was located in Algona. Exhibit caretaker Marv Chickering says that prisoner, Eduard Kaib, had been an architect before being drafted into the German Army.Chickering says Kaib built a small nativity set which impressed the camp commander who asked Kaib to build another one on a large scale — and that’s what he did, though it took Kaib and five other P-O-W’s a full year to finish it. The scene first went on display in December of 1945. Chickering says the scene was built from common ingredients. He says it’s concrete over a wire and wood frame with plaster over the concrete, and it’s painted beautifully with detailed expressions on the faces. Chickering says the nativity scene is a complete depiction of the Bible’s story of the birth of Christ, with the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, wise men, angels and numerous animals. Chickering says people from around the globe come to see the scene every year. The scene is open through New Years Eve day. This is the 60th season the display has been open. The Mens Club of Algona has maintained the scene since 1958.
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