Bethlehem Santa Clara’s 15th Annual Event Coming Soon
By Robert Haugh
Strolling through Bethlehem Santa Clara, it would be easy to imagine you’d been taken back over 2,000 years to visit the ancient town of Bethlehem
Santa Clara First Baptist Church will soon hold its 15th Annual Bethlehem production, a live drama that brings guests back in time to witness the historical birth of Jesus.
In creating Bethlehem, the church’s parking lot is covered with over 150 tons of sand. The production itself features more than 100 actors donning Biblical-style clothing, life-size buildings and bridges encompassing over 40,000 square feet, as well as many exotic animals including camels and llamas.
The hands-on marketplace features interactive booths, allowing children an opportunity to learn about weaving, basket making, perfume making, and baking. Adults can sample fresh, unfermented wine from a genuine wine press. There are even ancient-style games such as bowling, checkers and marbles.
As guests cheerfully take in the sights, sounds and activity of the Bethlehem marketplace, menacing Roman guards enter the town, boisterously blowing horns, announcing a census is going to be taken, demanding each and every citizen sign the census for Caesar and demand that curfew be upheld.
With curfew approaching, Joseph and Mary arrive on a donkey looking for a place to stay. Seeking shelter, they finally find rest in a stable, far from the town. After entering the stable, the birth of Jesus is celebrated, followed by the shepherds being visited by a flying angel. After following the Star of Bethlehem, which had been directing them to the newborn King, the shepherds scurry through the city proclaiming the good news as wise men from the east and their escorts enter the town on camelback, looking for baby Jesus.
Church volunteers began assembling the scene November 1, with between 40 and 50 volunteers working every Saturday prior to the production.
The free event, which attracted over 17,000 visitors last year, runs December 6 through 10th, with nightly performances from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Santa Clara First Baptist Church, 3111 Benton Street, between Kiely Blvd and Lawrence Expressway. For more information, visit www.BethlehemSC.com.
The Bethlehem Santa Clara production has awed many, so much that a church in Livermore is hosting their own production of Bethlehem the week following Bethlehem Santa Clara. Visit http://www.livingbethlehem.org/ for more information on how SCFBC has inspired others with their appealing drama.