IRMO, S.C. — The living Christmas story at Union United Methodist Church is all anyone looks forward to in Irmo when December rolls around.
One church member brought the idea from their former church in Florida.
"In less than a year, in fact about half a year, we didn't know what we were doing, but we made hundreds and hundreds of costumes, we got a cast together, we made it happen," Gail Elfert, original casting director said.
This has been a tradition in this Lexington County town for 29 years.
At its start, the free drive-through experience brought 2,000 people through, but now it brings more like 5,000 every year. Church goers love being a part of it.
"I've been a greeter, I've been a census taker at the very beginning, I've sold baskets in the basket booth, I've sold cloths in the cloth booth, I've been a woman at the well. There are just so many opportunities," Linda Caldwell, cast member said.
4-500 people make it all possible, from set building to prop set up to costumes to acting in the live nativity.
It's a great kickoff to the Christmas season, and fun for the whole family.
Glenna Dean Wildt, the co-casting director tells News 19 she's loved seeing her daughter Sarah rise through the different Christmas story roles.
"It's just always been real special and to watch as Sarah has progressed through the different age requirements for different cast members, she begged miss Gail when she turned eight to become a hillside angel and so that was a big thing, and now that she's a teenager, she can be a nativity angel, which is even a bigger scene," Wildt said.
This living Christmas story only runs this weekend. It's Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 until 9 p.m.
If you'd rather sit back and enjoy the full experience, church buses are available to drive you through if you park at the parking lot across the street.