They traveled from Nazareth to Judea and then to Bethlehem seeking room at an inn.
Mary and Joseph ended their journey Sunday in Wellington, leading a donkey through town. Together, they found a manger on Dickson Street.
Roughly 500 people flocked to see “The Wondrous Gift,” a live production of the Nativity scene, now in its third year.
Jonathan Jones and Brooke Galloway portrayed Joseph and Mary.
Before arriving at the park, they were told there were “no rooms available” at Farm & Home Hardware — a stop that generated a lot of turned heads.
“They see donkeys and animals walking around and it really gets a reaction,” said Jones. “We all enjoy it, though, and the message behind it is what’s most important.”
It was Jones’ third straight year in the production and his second as Joseph.
Galloway said her mother, a member of the Penfield Community Church choir, approached her about taking part for the first time and portraying Mary. “It’s exciting to be a part of something big like this and the turnout has been really good,” she said.
The program’s creation was spearheaded by Darlene Neptune upon moving to Wellington in 2014. After attendance pushed Howk Memorial Park to its limits last year, a request to the village to move to Dickson Street was quickly approved, she said.
While living in Naples, Fla., Neptune was a gospel singer, wrote plays for local churches, and helped produce similar Nativity programs.
She said a decision was made not to associate “The Wondrous Gift” with any one village church or organization in order to reach more people.
“I went to a church in Florida with 10,000 people, so when we put on a production it was huge,” Neptune said. “When I left, we were in our 35th year. When we first started doing this here, we thought it’d be fantastic if 100 or 200 people showed up in a town this size. By the time we were done, there were 150 people working on the project and over 500 showed up to watch that first year.”
Room was plentiful at Dickson Street Park. Village workers installed an electrical hookup in the hours leading up to showtime, providing a warm glow of lights and clear sound for a choral rendition of “Happy Birthday, Jesus.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
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