SEARCY, Ark.—COVID-19 cases were at record breaking numbers over the past week, which is causing many things to look different this holiday season.
The Living Nativity Experience put on my the First Assembly of God brings thousands of people from across the country to Searcy every year.
One of the pastors says that is why this year they are more focused on safety than ever before.
“We want to be very careful, we want to take care of our people and we want to do what’s right,” said Pastor Mark Ferren.
Ferren has assembled the drive through exhibit for the last 15 years, but says this year is unlike any other.
“This one has been totally different,” Ferren said.
He says they have cut the cast by more than double to keep everyone safe. Additionally, they will not be handing out hot chocolate or CD’s that narrate the nativity scene.
“We would have about 150 people in the past in total and now we only have about 50,” recalled Ferren.
However, as COVID-19 numbers hit record highs, so does the exhibit’s attendance. According to Ferren, they had 2500 people drive through on opening night, which is the most they’ve ever seen in a single night.
“I think people want something safe to do. They are tired of being home and being hymned up with those kids,” Ferren said.
Though this year’s drive through is not as interactive as it was in years past, he says the message is still the same.
“The one thing that we know is that at the end of this Nativity at the manger– 2020 may have changed but the hope is still right there,” said Ferren