Bethlehem scene attracts over 800 visitors

Megan Barber as Mary, six day old Beatrice Barber as Jesus and Edmund Barber as a young shepherd
Megan Barber as Mary, six day old Beatrice Barber as Jesus and Edmund Barber as a young shepherd

OVER 800 people travelled back in time to remember where Christmas really began with an extraordinary event at Eskdale School - complete with a real-life baby Jesus.

For the second year Whitby Christian Fellowship organised “Walk Through Bethlehem” where they recreated Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth.

Eskdale’s school foyer was transformed into a star-lit tunnel which led into the main hall which had become Bethlehem town centre.

The scene was complete with market stalls displaying exotic and unusual fruits, vegetables and sweets.

Around the town were various traders including leather, metal and wood workshops where visitors could try their hand at making leather wrist bands, copper coins and wooden candle holders.

Visitors could also mix up their own fragranced bath salts, dip bees wax candles and enjoy decorating Stars of David for their Christmas tree.

But any depiction of Bethlehem would not be complete without an inn and a stable, and Walk Through Bethlehem had both, including a new-born baby Jesus, played by six day old Beatrice Barber.

The stable also played host to a professional story teller who was telling the Christmas story from Matthew’s Gospel throughout the event.

The inn served warming soups and bread as well as hot and cold drinks and visitors could sit and enjoy their meal whilst watching the Roman Centurions take on any willing opponent in a sword fight.

Like Bethlehem in historical times and also like last year the Walk Through Bethlehem also had live animals in the market place.

There were three chickens and three sheep which were of great interest to many of the children who attended.

As well as proving popular with locals, the event, attended by 800 people, attracted visitors from as far as Leeds.

Jack Barber, from the Fellowship said: “Feedback was incredibly positive – it seems a great time was had by all who attended, with many people saying how much they appreciated being reminded that Christmas is about far more than presents, trees and roast dinners.”

The Fellowship thank all who helped organise and run the event, particularly Eskdale School for the use of the hall and the farmers for the loan of the sheep and the bales of straw and hay.

Walk Through Bethlehem is expected to be taking place again next year but times and dates have yet to be confirmed.