Artists of a sort were hard at work Tuesday afternoon, each crafting unique holiday displays before a flurry of activities take over downtown Terre Haute next week at the Miracle on 7th Street.

Using cans of pork and beans, tuna and peaches, folks from area businesses prepared their Can-You-Build-It displays at Indiana Theater ahead of the holiday celebration.

Libby Waters, co-founder of the Miracle on 7th and current board member, said the idea came from similar competitions hosted around the country.

Using little more than canned goods, representatives from Charlie's Pub and Grub, Sycamore Winery, Remax, Central State Construction, Baesler's Market, Mark Metheny of Edward Jones and Numerical Concepts Inc. have assembled seven holiday themed displays comprised of thousands of cans in total.

Waters said it's been interesting watching the groups work through their designs and see how each built the different structures.

"It's been a lot of fun to see what they come up with," Water said. "Obviously they're trying to tie it in to their business, but with a business like Numerical Concepts they build machines, and their design isn't a machine but still Christmas themed."

The structures will be on display at the theater 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 6 and noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 7 during this year's Miracle on 7th Street.

After the festival, Waters said the displays will be dismantled and donated to five local charities; 14th and Chestnut Community Center, St. Benedict's soup kitchen, United Campus Ministries, Catholic Charities and Providence Food Pantry.

Founder Boo Lloyd said incorporating ways to help those less fortunate, like Can-You-Build-It, is the foundation of everything the Miracle team strives to do.

"When the Miracle first started, we didn't do anything like that," Lloyd said. "But something clicked ahead of that second year and it was like, there are a lot of people in need of food and clothing, and so we started trying different things like the Miracle trees and help out 24 not-for-profits.

"And it worked. And then we heard someone who worked at the soup kitchen say they used to serve 100 people, but now serve over four hundred, and they needed some food. It's kind of snowballed from there."

This year's Light Your Way Parade, sponsored by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, begins 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 and runs between Fifth and Ninth streets down Wabash Avenue.

The Miracle also features this year an ice skating rink in the west parking lot of the Vigo County School Corporation administration building downtown. The cost is $5 per skater or a donation of five cans of food per skater. 

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