2,000 year old city within a shed draws visitors to Dakota City, NE
Visitors are invited to exchange cash for coins, like the currency used in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.
Think you've seen some pretty creative nativity scenes? How about this? A nativity scene in the middle of a recreation of the old town of Bethlehem.
One Siouxland family has brought it back all to life, in the space of a shed.
Located on the Kramper's Family farm, the Bethlehem Revisited Experience doesn't give away too much from the outside. But inside, it's the hustling bustling city of Bethlehem, 2,000 years ago, around the time Jesus was born. The recreation is complete with merchants, villagers, animals, and a live nativity scene and it's all inside of a giant shed.
"It makes you think you are in Bethlehem, you can smell all the animals," Lynnda Kramper, who plays Mary said.
The idea for this event was invented by Father Jim Kramper a Catholic priest 6 years ago. Each year Father Kramper picks a new location, this year he asked his cousin, Leo Kramper to host the popular event.
"My reaction to when he first asked me to host this event, when he said a thousand people the first day, I think my jaw just dropped to the floor and I had a hard time picking it up," Leo Kramper said.
The event has been a month long in the making. Dozens volunteered to help build and decorate the town.
Kramper says most of the animals were loaned out for free, but he rented out a few camels to make the village more authentic.
"We feel really honored to do this," Lynnda Kramper who plays Mary, the mother of Jesus said.
The attraction drew visitors from afar.
"They did really good, I love all the costumes, they actually look really real," a group of visitors from Crofton Nebraska said.
"It was very cool because there were some animals in there," Katie Bort from Wakefield Nebraska said.
"It felt like we were walking back into the time of Bethlehem, it was wonderful to see all the kids, seeing all the shop keepers, and the camels," Rita Langhorst from Jackson, Nebraska said.
For all the work that Kramper has put into this event, his one wish is that people walk away with the true meaning of Christmas.
"You think of Christmas, and what can I get as a present, and it's always so commercialized that I think we tend to forget about the birth of Jesus, so I think this kind of brings it a little bit closer," Leo Kramper said.