‘Walk Through Bethlehem’ tradition stays alive: scaled down to drive-thru


PUTNAM COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – Across the tri-state, many holiday events have been scaled back or outright canceled due to the pandemic. One group is fighting to keep their tradition alive while still following the CDC guidelines.

In the small area of Hometown, West Virginia, the Hometown Independent Mission Church presented its annual “Walk Through Bethlehem” Christmas event.

However, this year instead of walking through, visitors were only allowed to drive by. Hometown Independent Mission Church pastor Darren Persinger says the event had to be scaled back this year.

We kind of built a small city here this year, so folks could stay in their car and still enjoy this experience.

Darren Persinger, Hometown Independent Mission Church pastor

Cars lined up and down the streets to catch a glimpse of what the city of Bethlehem would have looked like more than 2000 years ago. From old-time shops to clothing accuracy, it is certainly a unique sight.

Families travel from as far as an hour away, and this year’s event is what some say is needed right now.

We enjoyed it the first time with our church, and we always enjoy it. I think they should have more things like this.

Sharon Paris, Huntington resident

As we get closer to the holidays, several people notice more events being canceled this year than years past. Persinger says he didn’t want their annual tradition to fall on that list as well.

While visitors say while the experience was still great, they’re looking forward to when they can walk through the city again.

The event will only be available again on Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. For more details on the event, click here.

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