Posted on December 12, 2010 at 8:13 AM
Sunday, Dec 12 at 8:19 AM
In the spirit of Christmas, Park Hills Baptist Church is bringing a well-known bible story to life, through its annual living nativity. It is not everyday you see camels in Austin, but these animals are a staple at the annual production.
“That’s thanks to Don Chapman who had the idea and started raising camels and so we’ve had camels every year also,” Tom Gillespie, Park Hills Baptist Church Associate Pastor, said.
Don Chapman has been raising camels since 1988. He has eleven of them now and he spends up to $13,000 a year to take care of them.
“We didn’t know anything about them at first. It was trial and error. They’re just great animals. They’re smart and when they learn that something’s not going to hurt them, they’re comfortable. I can hang bells and whistles all over them and they don’t pay attention anymore and they know its ok,” Chapman said.
Chapman said the costumes are another highlight of the production.
“I’ve been lucky enough to travel so I’ve bought costumes in Egypt, Israel. In fact, I was down in Morocco and I bought some more. So it’s been a lot of fun, I’ve shopped for costumes all around the world,” Chapman said.
Hundreds of people have showed up for the performances and the chance to interact with the animals. Chris Collins brought his three kids for the first time.
“We got invited by some family friends and we’ve never been invited to it before, but we loved it. It was great for the kids. It was great for the live animals aspect of it,” Collins said.
“We just love having the city come here. Of course we have a small congregation and we just do this as a gift to the city and it’s great to have hundreds of people here every night,” Gillespie said.
Park Hills Baptist Church is located at 900 S. Mopac Expressway. The nativity runs through Sunday, December 12 at 7p.m and 8:15p.m. Visit their website for more details:www.parkhillsbaptist.org.