Walk Through Bethlehem

This website is an Internet home for the annual event hosted by the Bellingham Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you were looking for an event in another location, please check for other online resources, such as this page of similar events. The remainder of this site is currently focused solely on Bellingham's event.

For Whatcom County's event, you can find significant news posted here. You may also wish to check a “Walk Through Bethlehem” Facebook page.

Bellingham's Walk Through Bethlehem Event

Walk Through Bethlehem 2018

Walk Through Bethlehem 2018 Confirmation


We confirm that we are moving ahead with the production of “Walk Through Bethlehem 2018”.

Come with us on a Christmas adventure back in time to the sleepy little town of Bethlehem. Visitors will be guided on a free journey that follows the story of Jesusí birth, from prophecy to the manger.

  • When: December 6 - 9, between 6:00 - 8:00 pm
  • Where: 5321 Waschke Road, Bellingham WA

Come see this in person. Walk Through Bethlehem is presented live at the following times and dates:

Here is an extremely important detail to understand at this time of the year:

The Countdown

That is only from now!

(Be planning for this starting a Thursday shortly after the American holiday of Thanksgiving. It all starts the first full Thursday-Sunday weekend in December.)
Mark your calendar. Invite your family. Invite friends. Make plans. Fulfill those plans. Be here.

Location Notes

  • This is right across from the Northwest Soccer Park on Smith Road
  • This new location is right next door to our old location. So if you've visited Walk Through Bethlehem in prior years, simply aim for there and we're currently right next door, not needing to cross any roads.

Schedule

This is the basic schedule that has been happening in the most recent years:

Week's DayStartEnd
Thusday6pm8pm
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

Coming during the earlier hour (from 6pm-7pm, rather than from 7pm-8pm) is a good idea so that there is ample opportunity to experience the attractions without any time pressure before event closing time.
People who arrive much after 7:30pm will not have much time to be trying to experience everything.

Event Highlights/Description

Please, for your own good, be sure to dress warmly for the weather, and wear comfortable walking shoes as the event is both inside and outdoors. Allow one hour to complete this sensory-rich experience. Accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.

If you have any questions, please call: 360-739-4695.

The event is free but the experience is priceless!

  • Live animals
  • Costumed characters in streets and shops. Some highlights include:
    • the tax collector,
    • a Roman centurion,
    • an Innkeeper,
    • and Wise Men
  • Free refreshments provided for all our travelers
  • More than 300 ft. replica of first-century Bethlehem

A wonderful, educational and historic experience for the whole family

Volunteers who put on this production are encouraged by the ability to provide this for the people who come. The people who come are an essential piece of that magnificent motivation. So please, be a part of this. If you can, gather up a group. Either way, please come.

More Notes

Some additional details/resources, such as flyers, are expected to be forthcoming soon.

November 1, 2018 Update: We are currently seeking additional volunteers for certain roles, such as guides who get to show visitors our highlights. If you can help, please let us know right away. If you would like to volunteer with creating the city, or would like to volunteer during the event or to help afterwards, please call: 360-739-4695.

For checking us out (online now, and hopefully in person during the event)... We thank you!


Upcoming Production

The next “Walk Through Bethlehem” event that we are currently expecting to host is currently being planned for 2018.

This year's design is expected to be a bit different. Instead of having some event highlights happen rather randomly, which has resulted in some people missing certain features, we intend to offer some guided tours this year.


Understanding... What Is Walk Through Bethlehem?

Walk Through Bethlehem is an event that re-creates many aspects of Bethlehem's environment around the time that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin mother, named Mary.

The result includes attractions like a manger near an inn, a synagogue, and a number of shops (which only accept the currency that is freely provided at the event). Also, there are people, dressed up in costumes, who serve as shopkeepers, Roman guards, and even kings.

See the sights, taste the treats (which are free), and even participate in some activities when the night's light comes from the flames of lanterns.

What does the event cost to attend?

Nothing! There is no admissions charge. It is free. There is no reservation needed.

Refreshments are provided free of charge. The one cost is that some food is provided as a fundraiser on most nights. However, other food/snacks get distributed freely, so people can enjoy this experience without needing to pay for admission.

How does this happen?

Up through the year 2015, Walk Through Bethlehem occurred for many years in the field of a school yard which was transformed into a series of places to visit. Buildings were built (literally). As the buildings were temporary, Baker View Christian School's back yard was converted into a miniature village each year. This transformation can be see at Re-Creation Records.

In more recent years, event leadership has been looking into making some more permanent fixtures. This could potentially enable some bolder achievements if we don't require continually tearing down some of the creations each and every year.

When Is Walk Through Bethlehem?

Please double-check the WalkThroughBethlehem.org website to verify the planned dates. For instance, at the time of this writing, the next planned event will occur during the year 2018.

In recent years, we have been offering this from Thursday through Sunday for a single week. We have been doing this during the first “full” (Thursday through Sunday) weekend of December. This places the event one or two weeks after the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

The project remains rather dormant for much of the year, but does get started sometime before American Thanksgiving. (If it's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving, it may be time for volunteers and visitors to start checking for public announcements of any updates.)

Coming during the earlier hour is a good idea so that there is ample opportunity to experience the attractions without any time pressure before some events start to close up.
In earlier years, people who arrive much after 7:30pm will not have much time to be trying to experience everything. With the new format that involves guided tours, there is even more reason to encourage people to come early.

Where is this?

This is located at the following address:

5321 Waschke Rd
Bellingham, WA 98226

It is located across the street from soccer fields.

Here is Google Maps at the intersection nearest to this event. (The event is on the Northwest side of that intersection. Google Maps Street View is currently appearing rather outdated, and blurry. Still, the Map and Satellite views ought to be able to be helpful.)

Although this is on Waschke Rd, note that people taking Northwest Ave from South (from most of Bellingham) will drive right past another Waschke Rd which does not connect. Avoid that “dead end” road which will not be helpful for finding us. This is not an issue if you reach Smith road from another direction, such as coming from the Guide Meridian, as described by the back side (second electronic page) of the Handbill (available in the section about Walk Through Bethlehem flyers.)

How to come

Dressed warmly! Most of this event occurs outdoors, on grassy (and, therefore, perhaps a bit dirty/muddy) ground.

Plan to spend some time enjoying yourself. After the brief visit to King Herod's throne, the experience is self-paced. Also, refreshments will be provided.

How can Walk Through Bethlehem be even better?

Come Experience It!

Double-check the schedule. If a year's Walk Through Bethlehem is not yet completed at the time that you're reading this, then come check it out. Even better, invite some family and friends to join you.

Even if you are unable to personally visit this year, please help share the excitement. Spread the word. Let people know the schedule.

Thank you.

Flyers

Here are the flyers that were released for 2018:

Volunteer Opportunities

We could use help! With over a decade of successful Walk Through Bethlehem events, we've learned where some help can be provided. Additional help can improve the end results, and make life easier for some other volunteers. Please, come help us!

Help spread the word
  • Post flyers
  • Make announcements
Volunteer coordinator

We rourtinely have some volunteers that need to be contacted. They have expressed interest before, and may not want to miss out, but this project needs someone who has the time to contact the known volunteers. We need to check who is available, and whether what role they may be available for. This role isn't primarily about recruiting new people who haven't signed up yet. Rather, the focus is working with people who have already shown interest.

Acting

Do you have what it takes to play the part of Jesus? Probably not. This role is fulfilled by a newborn baby, and if you're reading this, surely you're too big for that role.

However, what about other roles? We regularly staff positions such as Mary, Joseph, roman guards, magi, shopkeepers, entertainers (like dancers) and other villagers, a preacher, a tax collector, and more. Some roles may be fulfilled by the same person all night and every night, while other rules may have different staff members throughout the event.

Please let us know what roles you may be most interested in, or what other positions you may be available for.

Also, if you know of another person (such as a newborn baby) who may be a good fit for any position, please have that person (or, for younger people, parents) reach out to us.

Costumes are typically provided by the Walk Through Bethlehem event, so no need to worry about such supplies.

Other Active Production Roles

Examples of roles that may commonly have benefited by having more people include:

  • tract organizer
  • parking (in outdoor conditions after sunset)
  • front door assistance
  • snack/food preparation
  • flexible last-minute fill-ins for last-minute openings
    • There are enough positions each night that some opportunity tends to spring up, somewhere, each year. If you let us know, we can benefit.

Other positions may become more apparent as the scheduled time gets closer.

Construction

At the time of this writing, Walk Through Bethlehem is seeking experienced people and has some budget for professional services.

In some prior years, the entire construction effort has been purely volunteer labor. Even when some professional expertise was being applied, those experienced staff members may still benefit from additional help. The need to move some materials also extends beyond our production's final day.

We have been able to effectively utilize people who can help in many different ways:

  • moving boards
  • holding boards
  • creating or disassembling connections
  • decorating,
  • handing out refreshments (to other volunteers)
  • many other roles

Please join us, as more volunteers help make life easier and make activities more pleasant.

Other preparation roles
  • Planning
  • Decorating (during and also after some of the later phases of construction)
  • Supply gathering (needed sometimes)
Media Staff

So far, this website has been created and updated pretty quickly. It has served its basic purpose as an information base. Improvements could make it even better.

Here are some ideas:

  • Create a fancier design
  • Interview staff members
  • Process pictures that have already been captured from a prior year
  • Create new pictures during the event's preparation, the actual event, and maybe even the follow-up efforts

For this specific role, please contact a web staff member at (360)389-2869 (using text messaging or leaving voicemail if unanswered).

People with visual design skills may also be able to help work on some print media. If this sounds like something you have some skills for, please contact our staff.

If you can help us, please reach out. Until/if we have other contact information to reach a volunteer coordinator, that contact information we have for new helpers is the Walk Through Bethlehem Director, Angela Langley, at 360-739-4695.

Additional Information Online

Community Involvement

The Walk Through Bethlehem event has been an opportunity to provide this service to the local community. The theme is clearly Christian, focusing on Bethlehem which is the city where Jesus Christ was born. The content of this event is expected to be widely comfortable for all who appreciate the biblical Nativity story.

More Explanations

The reason that the Synagogue has a Jewish symbol (the “Star of David”) is that the human community in Bethlehem was not widely acknowledging the significance of Jesus at the time of his birth. Crosses (as religious symbols) may be rare or even unseen entirely, for the same reason that electricity is not used for many parts of the event. These things were not part of Bethlehem at the time Jesus was born, so they aren't prominently featured in this re-creation Bethlehem. The lack of electricity is why so many of the pictures show night-time firelight. We have found that firelight is quite effective at providing necessary light and helping to establish the nativity environment.

Have you ever seen a Christmas card with a nativity scene? Well, this is a chance to become part of one. Come on by!

Pictures

If you'd like to see some pictures, here are some locations:

Historical Notes

Walk Through Bethlehem has been operating for years. To clean up the main page, some information from prior years has been trimmed off. However, if you have reason to want to check it out, some previous versions of the site have been preserved and are still available here:

[WTB2015] [WTB2016] [WTB2017]