WASHINGTON, April 12, 2013 – Noah and his family are riding history’s most devastating flood on a new ark inside Lancaster County’s big 2,000-seat Sight & Sound Theatre.
The theatre known as “Christian Broadway” is reprising its most popular show ever this season through November 2. To date, three million people have seen earlier versions of the company’s stories about Noah on its stages in both Lancaster and Branson, Missouri.
The show plays out on a 300 foot-long stage with over 100 lifelike animatronic animals plus about 60 live ones, including camels, horses, llamas, alpacas and birds.
A cast of 52 unnamed actors (the focus is on the Bible story, not the actors), including Noah, his family, and other characters who deliver the familiar biblical story and a message about God’s judgment, provision and faithfulness.
Next March, Sight & Sound will debut an all-new show about Moses.
Josh Enck, co-president, co-chief creative officer and co-chief administration officer of Sight & Sound Theatres, told the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal that although the group has tackled big Bible figures like Joseph, Daniel, and Joseph before – Moses’ story will be the most epic show the group has ever produced.
With all the technical capability the theatre now has, Enck said events like the parting of the Red Sea and God in the form of a burning bush are now possible. Think Indiana Jones, he said, because the show will go the adventurous route – and cost several million dollars to produce.
Noah runs up to three times a day, Tuesdays through Saturdays. Some dates between now and November 2 are sold out.
Many theater-goers spend one or two nights in Lancaster. While the main attraction may be a Sight & Sound Theatre show, a Lancaster has something for everyone: outlet shopping, live music and dinner theaters, food markets and crafts outlets, and historic attractions like the living Landis Valley Village & Farm Museum, or the Hans Herr House, circa 1719. Some just enjoy riding the county’s meandering roads that flow past farms and small towns.
But observing lifestyles of the local “Plain” people – those who belong to the Amish and Mennonite faiths – continues to be Lancaster’s main draw. These families, farmers and craftsmen follow deeply religious, family-centered lifestyles that remain apart from the mainstream culture.
These people arrived in the area from Europe three centuries ago, and have traditionally kept their distance from outsiders. But in recent years, they have been more willing to mingle with visitors and even invite them into their homes for meals and conversation.
Mud sales are one of the best ways to mingle with the locals. These are auction and sales held since the 1960s to benefit local volunteer fire departments, and the Amish and Mennonite communities support them.
Originally held only during late winter and early spring, the events now occur throughout most of the year. Amish people conduct auctions of plants, household items, farm animals, quilts and other crafts, and even farm equipment. Local food items are also a big attraction.
Another way to get inside Lancaster’s culture is to do tours organized by local operators.
Amish Experience: Small group tours (up to 14 people) are welcomed into Amish homes, farms and businesses for personal conversation and interaction. The V.I.P. (Visit in Person) tour may be combined with a lunch and viewing of Jacob’s Choice, a film that gives viewers a better understanding of Amish beliefs and lifestyles.
All-in-One Tours: Faith travelers enjoy this company’s “Inspirational Lancaster” tour, which includes various churches and maybe a meal and hymn sing at an Amish farm. Also popular are tours of the full-size Biblical Tabernacle replica.
Brunswick Tours: This company’s extensive menu of options includes a “Faith of Our Fathers” day tour for visitors who would like in-depth study of the several faith groups who reside in the county. Narratives about the beliefs and heritage of the Amish, Moravians, Quakers, Mennonites, and those who lived in the Ephrata Cloisters are included.
Chalk Talks: The inspiring chalk artistry of former Old Order Mennonite member Elva Hurst delights visitors who arrive at her family’s 19th century Hurst farm in Lititz. Elva uses her chalk artistry, lighting, and music to tell stories of nature, faith, and family holiday traditions. Hurst’s half-hour talks may also be arranged at sites like Plain ‘n Fancy Restaurant by Brunswick Tours.
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