The stars were bright Friday night, light shining down on a scene of an inn too full for guests and an empty stable. Travelers and families rested weary and warmed by small fires, faces lit as they drank hot cocoa and waited with anticipation for the well-known couple to arrive to Bethlehem -- Mary and Joseph.
A hush fell over the crowd as a voice filtered through the people of Bethlehem. Participants joined in one after the other, singing traditional Christmas carols that furthered the viewing experience and warmed hearts on the chilly evening.
WildeWood Farm Inc., located at 5150 Oak Grove Circle in Cumming, put on its very first Christmas production, comprised of an interactive live nativity scene. The farm had three shows during the weekend of Dec. 18 through Dec. 20.
Each show began with participants finding seats around socially distanced fires, both for proper lighting and warmth. Volunteers dressed as people of Bethlehem, Roman soldiers and shepherds filtered in and requested room at the inn, which was full, of course.
Mary (played by Kendra Sanderson) and Joseph arrived on a donkey and were promptly turned away from the inn. They moved to the stable, surrounded by animals owned by WildeWood Farm and soon, baby Jesus was born.
The crowd sang Christmas carols that followed the plot of the nativity story. A goat named Audi also joined in on the fun, belting along with families as they rang in the Christmas spirit.
Hannah Zapletal, owner of WildeWood Farm, said she was inspired to put on the interactive live nativity by memories from her childhood. Growing up in Haiti without a television, Hannah and her mother Gloria wrote many plays that were performed in local churches.
“This is the first time we have written [a play] for our American audience,” Hannah said.
While a main attraction was the interactive component of the nativity story, the production featured many of the farm’s animals as well. Hannah said her favorite part of the play was watching the Arabian horses prancing in with the Magi. Hannah’s husband and co-owner of Wildewood Farm, Petr Zapletal, expressed his amazement and gratitude for the crowd turn-out and involvement on Friday, Dec. 18, the first night of the show.
For more information about WildeWood Farm Inc., and questions about horseback riding lessons and day camps, visit www.wildewoodfarminc.com.