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Bethlehem Walk open Saturday in Parskville
The Bethlehem Walk is back after a one-year hiatus and it may not be exactly what residents remember.
"Our booths have all been revamped, the whole village area will appear different to people," said Bethlehem Walk Coordinator Gail Barbero.
This will be the 20th year for the popular event at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church, which saw more than 8,000 people through the gates in 2011.
It runs Dec. 14-17 from 6-8:30 p.m.
The Bethlehem Walk tells the Christmas Story and depicts an ancient village as it would have appeared during Christ's birth. It includes biblical dramas, with volunteer actors from the church, and live animals including sheep, donkeys and rabbits. The village, made up of rows of shops, is setup outdoors behind the church under cover. All the shopkeepers are dressed in period costume, minding stores that include the Dead Sea Rolls Bakery and He-Brews Coffee Shop. There is also a live manger scene, carolling and cookies, and hot chocolate for people to enjoy inside the church.
There is no fee for the Bethlehem Walk but donations of non-perishable food and money are accepted to the Salvation Army. In 2011 visitors donated more than $12,000 and heaps of food.
Barbero said the church took to the break last year to re-evaluate everything and the 300 people who came together to put it on this year are excited for its return.
"We took a break and the people of our church still want to present this gift to our community in the Oceanside area," she said. "So that's what we wanted to do and that's what we'll continue to do for as long as the Lord allows."
People can park at the church but parking fills up quickly, so a shuttle van will be running continuously from Wembley Mall near the old Remax office building. The Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church is located at 550 Pym Street North. For more information visit www.parksvillebaptist.org or call 250- 248-6322.