By Andria Barrios

bethlehem4Walk Through Bethlehem is a classic holiday tradition which the families of the community have enjoyed for many years. It is a free event held at and sponsored by Kings Avenue Baptist Church each Christmas. This interactive tour includes live animals and talented actors who perform the nativity story in a life-like manner. A tour guide personally leads each group through the biblical city of Bethlehem, placed around the church property. Free parking is also included, as well as live music and a concession stand while residents wait their turn. Tours last about 35 to 45 minutes.

At least 200 church members and volunteers from surrounding churches come together to produce Walk Through Bethlehem.

“We have many families that have participated every year for years.  The Gallops family has been involved for 27 years. Their children, who started out as baby Jesus, now play adults working in the city,” Kelly Lafollette, marketing coordinator, said.

Each passing year, attendance has increased. Anywhere from 6,500 to 7,500 residents travel through this reenactment each year. Clearly it is a popular event used to spread the story of Jesus’ birth to the masses. Those who attend are taken back 2,000 years into the very world and city where Jesus first arrived.

“It is the church’s gift to the community,” Lafollette said.

This year is the 28th annual Walk Through Bethlehem and Kings Avenue is preparing for the best event yet.

“There will even be a few new surprises this year,” Lafollette said.

Walk Through Bethlehem will begin on Thursday, December 11 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. and will continue throughout the weekend. On Friday, December 12, it will take place from 6:30-10 p.m., Saturday, December 13 from 4-10 p.m. and Sunday, December 14 from 4-9 p.m. Tours are conducted throughout the evening on these dates. Visit www.kingsavenue.org. King’s Avenue Baptist Church is located at 2602 S. Kings Ave. in Brandon.