Live camels part of Sandtown Nativity
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 12:00 AM
Live camels, donkeys and sheep will once again be part of the annual Nativity trail at Sandtown United Methodist Church.
The live Christmas Nativity will be presented on Dec. 13 and 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Unlike a traditional Christmas Nativity with live actors, Sandtown will have a trail featuring seven different scenes telling the Christmas story.
Visitors will be able to drive up to each scene, remain in their vehicles and listen as the Christmas story is told.
The scenes, in order of appearance, are: a family reading the Christmas story, an Old Testament prophet on Jesus' birth, Mary receiving news of Jesus' birth, Mary and Joseph at the inn, the shepherds being visited by angels, the manger scene and the meeting with the wise men.
Sarah Hardy, co-coordinator of the event, said that new to this year's Nativity would be an expanded shepherd's scene.
"We've expanded the angels and shepherds by adding more characters and redesigning the scene," she said.
Last year the church expanded the inn scene to include more characters and a marketplace.
The Nativity now features a cast of 45 characters played by 85 different actors.
Along with the actors, live animals will again be provided by Hank Koehler of HK Exotics in Alberta, Ala.
Hardy said the camels, donkeys and sheep would be returning with the possibility of other animals as well.
Visitors will enter near the church cemetery and travel down the trail, listening to a provided CD that tells the story of Christmas.
Hardy noted that the trail would be lighted with luminaries.
Organizers ask that visitors not stop in the middle of the trail to listen.
"Depending on the traffic it should take less than 10 minutes to drive the entire trail," said Hardy.
The CDs will be picked up at the end of the trail.
Being its third year, Hardy said planning the Nativity has gotten easier.
"We've got fewer changes and we get better each year," she said.
Most of the original actors will be returning.
The church hosted a meeting in early September 2011 when its pastor, David Upshaw, suggested the Nativity.
Upshaw thought it would be a nice project for the church and everyone agreed.
"We were very pleased with last year's event," Hardy said.
"It exceeded our expectations. But if one person shows up that's successful to us."
The church is at 11950 Mississippi 482 at Sandtown.