Hardee County arena to be transformed into Bethlehem, recreating the first Christmas

Wauchula may only have 5,000 residents, but a live nativity production by Power and Light Productions is expected to bring three times that many people to Hardee County’s Cattleman's Arena.

"What we have done is build a life-sized, recreated version of the village of Bethlehem," said Michael Graham the owner of Power and Light Productions. "You are able to walk through it on the night that Jesus was born, and you will encounter craftsmen and merchants, dancers, entertainers, and of course a gigantic nativity scene."

The arena will be transformed into an immersive experience back in time to the first Christmas.

"What makes our productions unique is that they are very authentic," shared Graham. "Everyone makes the comment that they feel like they're right in the middle of the story."

There will be approximately 100 actors in costume.

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"The cast is made up of all volunteers especially people of all ages from infants up to senior citizens," said Graham.

The production also uses 40 live animals.

"Our use of animals is unusual. We use them through the entire production," Graham stated.

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That lends to the authenticity of the very agricultural feel of the era they are recreating. Bethlehem was a shepherd town supplying sheep to the nearby city of Jerusalem, so this production features a lot of sheep.

Power and Light Productions has been doing live shows like this since 2001, but like most live performance shows, they were shut down due to COVID-19 concerns.

This is their first Bethlehem Nights event since 2019, and they are on the biggest stage that Hardee County has to offer.

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"We've shown our plays to some close to 600,000 people," stated Graham. "We've always had that philosophy (that) we want to make people feel a certain way as if they're back in those days living in those times."

The shows begin Thursday, December 9 with ticket sales and food trucks at the venue starting at 5 p.m.

Hardee County Cattleman's Arena is located at 770 Recreation Complex, in Wauchula.

LINK: For more information on tickets visit, https://www.powerandlightproductions.com/bethlehemnights.


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