Bethlehem Walk set to kick off

Oceanside residents can get a taste of the Holy Land without even boarding an airplane

Last year’s Mary

Last year’s Mary

It is almost time to taste, smell and hear the real life Bethlehem village at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church. Pastor Jerrold Paetkau said over 100 volunteers have pitched in their time and effort to create the village that will provide the authentic atmosphere for the annual Bethlehem Walk taking place December 10 to 13.

This year will mark the 19th anniversary of the Bethlehem Walk and Paetkau said while it takes a tremendous amount of work to present the biblical story of Christmas their church members are always willing to come together to make it happen.

“It is our gift to the community and we are happy to do it,” said Paetkau.

The free event includes hot chocolate, cookies and caroling and it is an opportunity to make a donation to the local food bank.

Last year the event generated $14,000 for the Salvation Army and Paetkau said it is great how generous the community is when their annual event rolls around.

“Windsor Plywood and Central Builders gave us deals on building supplies and the City of Parksville donated some paving stones.”

Paetkau said he has ordered the hot chocolate, enough for 10,000 cups and the sweet treats have been donated by Tim Hortons, Tigh-Na-Mara and Eaglecrest Golf Course and Genesis Fire Protection has donated fire extinguishers.

Each year thousands of people flock to the church to experience the sights, sounds and textures of the recreated Bethlehem that includes barn animals, a bustling marketplace, more than 250 people in period costume and of course the famous manger nativity scene.

This year two families are volunteering to take on the starring roles of baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Quist family from Nanaimo as well as the Ryvers family from Parksville will take turns in the manger with their newborns.

Paetkau said the very first baby to take on the role of the baby Jesus at their inaugural Bethlehem Walk is now at University in Toronto studying ballet.

Every year the church adds new attractions to the event and there are two new features in the village this year including a bedouin tent and an aqua-duck park.  Paetkau said that individual families will often be responsible for one of the village stalls and with over 250 people volunteering each night of the walk it is a complex execution that involves many hours of people working together before and during the event.

“During the work bees little kids work with older people and they enjoy helping and learning from one another. We have 80 year-olds puttering around. Everyone chips in.”

He said this year his 13-year-old daughter Allison worked with her grandma to sew one of the costumes for the event. He said there are few finishing touches to be done in the village and the animals including sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits and a donkey will arrive on December 8.

The Bethlehem Walk takes place at the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church at 550 Pym Street North from Dec. 10-13, 6 to 8:30 p.m. nightly.

 

reporter@pqbnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A couple wants the Regional District of Nanaimo to deal with roaming cats that are causing damage to gardens and killing wildlife. (Submitted Photo)
Roaming cats pose problem for Parksville Qualicum Beach area couple

Residents upset with felines damaging gardens, want RDN to take action

Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association’s popular walking soccer league was one of several sports programs and activities that were cancelled following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest announcement to ban indoor adult team sports. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville Qualicum Beach sports groups frustrated by ban

Provincial health directive discourages indoor sports

371 Alberni Highway, Parksville, where the Quality Foods is currently under construction. In January 2021, 87 new affordable homes will start construction nearby. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Provincial government in support of 87 affordable housing units in Parksville

Construction at Alberni Highway address slated to start in January 2021

The Parksville Community Centre. (PQB News file photo)
City of Parksville offers update on closure of community centre

‘Increasing operating costs and annual subsidies provided by the city have been a concern’

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix wears a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre, in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, August 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PHSA bought faulty respirators; spent money on catering, renovations: Dix

Such spending included ‘unnecessary, unbudgeted renovations’ to the authority’s headquarters in Vancouver

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan releases his election platform, Vancouver, Oct. 6, 2020, featuring COVID-19 relief payments promised for most households. (B.C. NDP photo)
Next $1.5 billion in B.C. COVID-19 cash ‘prudent,’ Horgan says

New round of payments for household incomes up to $175,000

KIJHL games have been postponed through Dec. 31. (File photo)
KIJHL postpones all games through end of 2020

Due to provincial health orders, games up to Dec. 31 have been pushed back

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Former Kelowna social worker arrested for allegedly stealing from foster kids

Robert Riley Saunders was arrested in Alberta and will be brought back to B.C. to face charges

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Lake Trail Middle School in Courtenay has closed again due to a threat Friday (Dec 4). File photo
Island middle school closed for the second time in a week due to threat

On Nov. 26, Lake Trail Middle School was closed for a day while a similar incident occurred.

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week

Most Read