If you're looking for an unusual way to celebrate the holidays, Capital City Christian Church may have just the ticket.
But there are no more.
"Christmas in Mayberry," a popular stage performance performed by Capital City every year, is officially "sold out."
"Actually, we do not sell the tickets," said the play director and Capital City congregation member Jim Thompson "They are distributed and reserved entirely through word-of-mouth."
Though congregation members "may have some leftover tickets," patrons will have to wait until next year.
Clara Falk, the church's music director, saw the play eight years ago in North Carolina and fell in love with it.
Based on an episode of the popular 1960s sitcom, "The Andy Griffith Show," the performance is "as authentic as we could make it," said Tom Young who plays Griffith in the play.
Young is a "Mayberry aficionado," according to Thompson. "We have literally transformed the sanctuary into Mayberry."
Thompson said Steve Pattison, the pastor, was not hopeful about the venture, contending, "You'll be lucky to have 15 people show up."
This year, with a sanctuary built to accommodate 700, there won't be an empty seat in the house when the play opens next week.
"At 5:30 p.m. last Monday, 30 minutes before tickets came available, there were people lined up outside the church doors," Thompson said.
"It was below freezing and at 6, we even saw a couple with a baby in a stroller waiting in line. At 7, there were still at least 100 people outside, anxious for tickets."
Surprisingly, though, "there was such a demand this year that we didn't even have to place an ad," Thompson said.
The premise of the play unfolds when a grumpy store owner, "Ben Weaver," catches "The Darlings" stealing flour and sugar to make a fruitcake.
He thinks that The Darlings ought to spend Christmas in jail. But, Andy and the gang just don't think that's fair, so they end up hosting a Christmas-of-sorts in the Mayberry jail.
As the story progresses, the Mayberry entourage learns "the true meaning of Christmas," Thompson said. "It's a lot of laughter and fun."
Jeff Warnecke plays Barney Fife and said that the role is "quite intimidating. There will only be one Don Knotts." In spite of his modesty, however, Thompson and the rest of the crew agree that Warnecke makes a fantastic Barney.
"We're lucky to have the talent," Thompson said. He said the project would not have happened without the help of Falk and the play's co-director Lisa Mackey.
"We've been working on this for months. Everyone has done a great job with it." Even the church choir participated in the show as the "Mayberry Community Choir," Thompson said.
In addition to providing seasonal entertainment, Thompson and the Capital City Christian Church congregation are spreading holiday cheer through charity.
They are requesting that every attendee bring a canned good that will go to the ACCESS soup kitchen and men's shelter. "We purchased a 1963 police squad car and we plan to fill the trunk with food to donate. Trunks were big back then, you know." Thompson said.
"Christmas in Mayberry" is not only a means of encouraging others to visit the church, but also as a way to help the community, Thompson said.
The church will also be serving a light dinner at each weekend performance. Not many people know about the meal, but it is still "crazy the way people have responded," Young said.
"It's not bad for a free evening. There are no hidden agendas," Thompson said. "We really just want to offer a nice Christmas message and show people that church can be fun."
Christmas in Mayberry
Capital City Christian Church located on Versailles Road between Crossroads Ford and the old Jeff Sachs location
Showings: Dec. 3, 5-7, 10, 12-14, 17 and 19- 21
Doors open at 6 p.m. and show starts at 6:30