The 11th annual “Walk to Bethlehem” is just around the corner. This interactive theatrical experience draws thousands of people each season, including travelers from surrounding regions, such as Ontario and New York. Nearly 150 costumed cast, along with another hundred behind-the-scenes volunteers, serve as singers, actors, carpenters, costume makers, parking lot attendants, cookie bakers and much more to make this re-enactment of the Christmas story an unforgettable experience.
The spacious grounds (formerly riding stables) of the Hudson Community Baptist Church are transformed to ancient Bethlehem with the flickering glow of more than a hundred tiki torches. The “set,” comprised of twelve stations, is complete with live barn animals, a marketplace, shepherds with real sheep, singing angels, wisemen, King Herod, Roman soldiers, and Mary and Joseph and the child Jesus in the stable/barn. The heartbeat of the production is to share the message of love and hope that began with the birth of Jesus Christ on that first Christmas over 2000 years ago.
To begin the experience, visitors are shepherded through the Roman gates into a welcome center. A costumed guide sets the stage for the journey that casts the visitors as fellow travellers who must obey the law of the land while traveling to Bethlehem to pay taxes and be counted. Visitors are given shekels which they must keep for the duration of the tour in order to experience the sights and sounds of life as it was 2000 years ago. Music, performed by eighty-five singers and musicians, is an important part of the evening, as are live animals including goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, and alpacas. After the memorable visit to Bethlehem, visitors are transported back to the 21st century to warm up inside the “Christmas Café” and enjoy hot chocolate and homemade cookies, pastries and cakes baked by an army of volunteers. You can even chat with some of the cast or meet with friends while listening to beautiful live Christmas carols.
“Walk to Bethlehem” is free to attend, although donations to help cover the costs are appreciated. Visitors are encouraged to bring along a non-perishable food item to go to families in need, to be distributed by the Dorion Dream Centre food bank. The re-enactment takes place outdoors on sometimes uneven terrain, so warm clothing and sturdy walking shoes are recommended. Production dates are November 27th and 28th, and December 4th and 5th at the Hudson Community Baptist Church grounds, located at 3141 Cote St-Charles in St. Lazare (corner Harwood). Friday tours run from 6:00 to 9:00pm, and Saturday tours from 5:00 to 9:00pm. Tours leave approximately every 10 minutes. French speaking tour guides are available.
For more information, please go to http://www.hudsonbaptist.com/walktobethlehem; or follow us on facebook (www.facebook.com/WalkToBethlehem) or instagram (walktobethlehem), #walktobethlehem. You can also call us at 450-458-1945.