SPRING HILL — Easter will be the emphasis when West Hernando Christian School presents its eighth annual outdoor festival celebrating the Bible and its customs.
Students from K3 through grade 12 will participate in the evening's events.
"This is the first year we've done this in the spring," said Shirley Craig, the school's music teacher and director of the program. "Since we're so close to Easter, we're going to have a pageant. The students will enact the Easter story. The whole school is involved."
"Heroes of the Faith" is the theme for the event, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the school's courtyard with a passion play depicting Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the events leading up to his crucifixion, and his death and resurrection.
"We have quite a bit of scenery and dancing," Craig said. "The students are preparing all kinds of special things for that night."
As in previous years, the students have built sukkots, little booths with palm branches on top, like those mentioned in the Bible at the Feast of Tabernacles. In the sukkots and tents, the students, dressed in clothing appropriate to the theme, will display arts and crafts that stress the customs of biblical times.
"After our drama presentation, people are invited to browse the displays," Craig said. "Each elementary class is researching a Christian hero, somebody from history or from the Bible. Even our little preschoolers are doing a display and will sing or have a little skit."
High school students have prepared a "Martyr's Wall" display with their research about Christian martyrs.
Included in the displays will be a replica of an ancient Israeli loom and an ancient quern, a stone mill used to hand grind wheat.
"The parents, teachers and kids from two of our classes are preparing a sampling of authentic food from Bible times, ancient Israeli fare," Craig said. "People can sample the foods, and they will also be able to take a turn at the quern."
After a time of browsing, a shofar will call the crowd back to the courtyard, where the ninth-grade class will present a musical drama about Christian martyrs.
"It's a very powerful drama," Craig said. "They will use long wooden dowels that are used in stick ministry. In this case, people will hold dowels that represent different props for the drama. For instance, in one scene where Paul the Apostle is put in prison, the people holding the sticks are the prison bars. There are more uses of the sticks. It's very neat, but I don't want to give away my surprise ending."
The evening's events will culminate in a finale involving all of the students dancing to the song Days of Elijah.
Craig said she hopes the event will be an inspiration to people who attend.
"My hope is with this year's theme, 'Heroes of the Faith,' that people who come and the students alike will be inspired to do likewise — follow in the footsteps in Jesus."