Bethlehem returned to Winkler for the twelfth year. "When September, October rolls around people are asking 'are you going to do from everywhere to Bethlehem again? That's the way we start our Christmas, please don't stop,' and that little bit of encouragement just keeps us going," says one of the organizers, Cyndie Toews.
From Everywhere To Bethlehem is a live production put on by the Winkler EMMC, and Bethel Bergthaler Church. It allows visitors to walk through the Christmas story of Jesus' birth at the Winkler park. 75-80 people are needed to run the production, whether actors, or people working behind the scenes.
"Christmas is a season filled with wonder, and amazement, and faith, and we often get too busy and forget about the real reason why we celebrate Christmas . . . we want to share God's gift to those all around us," says Toews.
Each year there are always new visitors to the production, some of which are from the Pembina Valley and have never made it to the production, or have come from as far as Russia, Africa, and Mexico. This year, someone visited from Iowa and asked for the script so they can bring the production back to their home church.
The Gideons were also in attendance with free bibles. They gave away some in English, Chinese, Russian, Low German, and Portuguese, to name a few.
Last year approximately 3,100 people went through Bethlehem, and this year saw 2,674 visitors to the little town. The census booth also collected 2,340 pounds of food for the local food cupboard, and the bake sale raised funds for MCC Christmas Giving.