December 05, 2012 - For Bridgewood Church's Christmas Story Express, a live Nativity is just one part of the experience.
"We have scenes all the way around the property (about 10 acres)," said Associate Pastor Darin Loruss, organizing the event.
Bridgewood Church, 6765 Rattalee Lake Road off M-15, hosts the free event, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Friday-Sunday, Dec. 7-9.
It's a drive-through event – cars will be lined up along Rattalee Lake Road, then shepherded four at a time along the route to each stop. Each vehicle gets a CD at the gate, which provides narration.
"Each track is a different scene," Loruss said. "We burned 1,000 CDs and will make more if needed."
No CD player? They'll provide one of those too.
A cast of about 200 volunteer actors and at least 20 animals will reenact scenes from the New Testament, including Christ's birth, Jesus at 12 years old, working as a carpenter and preaching in the temple, a market scene where an adult Jesus heals the sick, a two-tier Last Supper scene, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.
The market will bustle with more than 70 actors bartering, cooking over fires, tending their animals, and conversing, sometimes with viewers in their vehicles.
"Each scene has its own thing going on," Loruss said. "It's a great time for families. The kids roll down the window to take it all in."
Volunteers worked for more than a month, building sets and props, and a church member volunteered to record the professional-quality narration.
"It's been a lot of work," said Sarah Mezzera, intern who coordinated casting, costumes, and props.
The show takes about 20 minutes. At the halfway point, viewers get hot chocolate and cookies.
Loruss organized an event like this at Brighton Assembly for 14 years, attracting about 8,000 each year. This is the first for Clarkston.
"We're doing this as a gift to the community," he said. "People love it – the real reason for Christmas."
For more information, call 248-625-1344 or check Bridgewoodchurch.com.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.