York-area residents and holiday visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy a special Christmas celebration again this year as members of First Parish Church present the Third Annual Drive-Through Nativity, “The Journey to Bethlehem.”
Staged as a living tableau with live, authentically costumed actors portraying all the characters of the original Christmas story, the program will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday evening, Dec. 17, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., in the loop around Town Hall and the church in York Village. Admission will be free, and all are invited.
Dozens of volunteers have worked for several months preparing for the event, according to Janet and Larry Cassidy, its co-chairs, and many more will perform as actors on the evening of the performance. “Besides the actors,” he said, “the committees range from set design, props and costumes to carpentry, lighting and even live animals.”
“There will be seven distinct scenes,” Janet explained. “The first is the annunciation of Mary by the angel Gabriel, which will be right behind Town Hall. Then, there will follow a series of scenes including Caesar’s Palace, travelers on the road to Bethlehem, the wise men, the overcrowded inn, shepherds and angels in the field and, of course, the manger.”
Church members, children and adults, will be portraying the more than 70 characters in the nativity story, according to the Cassidys.
The audience will be able to view each scene from the comfort – and warmth – of their vehicles, entering from York Street next to Town Hall and slowly traversing the loop around to the exit between the church and the Parish House. For safety reasons, no walk-through pedestrians will be allowed during the event.
The annual event draws hundreds of vehicles, the occupants of which find the experience especially moving, according to the Cassidys.
“We’re hoping to again make Christmas in York even more special than it already is,” said Janet. “And, of course, we’re hoping that this event will serve to remind everyone of the true meaning of Christmas.”
“We’re not doing this for ourselves,” Larry added, “although the participants are certainly enthusiastic about the project. We’re doing it for the people of York. It’s our gift to our community.”
Photo Caption: The angel Gabriel's annunciation of Mary (scene 1 of 7). (Courtesy photo)