Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Fayette | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Warren | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Bethlehem Recreated in Madisonville Church

return to_Bethlehem_1MADISONVILLE, KY (12/8/12) – Tomorrow will mark the beginning of the 17th annual Return to Bethlehem (RTB) event at First Baptist Church in Madisonville. Donna McMurtrie, Chair of the RTB committee, spoke with SurfKY News today, providing information and history of the event.

“It’s an interpretation of what the city of Bethlehem would have been like on the night Christ was born,” McMurtrie said. There will be a recreation of the city, with 25 shops where the shopkeepers, played by volunteers, will be hard at work crafting their wares.

“At that time, the homes were two stories,” she explained. “The people lived upstairs, and they kept the animals downstairs. That’s basically what people are doing in their shops. They’re selling their wares. There’s pottery, blacksmithing, and carpentry. They’re dying cloth. They’re baking bread. There’s a stone carver. We actually have a fish market with real fish. We have a tanning shop where they tan hides. The shops are a method of interacting with the people, but our main story is that they’ve heard that a baby was born that night.”

McMurtrie said that 500 church members are involved in the effort, including the cast of characters inside city and staff in sanctuary, who will be giving the cast their biblical names and sending them on to orientation where they will learn their roles and what to expect playing the part of shopkeepers, beggars, and other characters from Bethlehem on the night Christ was born.

There is no cost to attend, but beggars will collect donations, which will go to the cost of the event. McMurtrie said that, after 17 years, First Baptist has organizing RTB down to a science, and it only costs the church about $4,000 to put on the event.

“The majority of that is for the animals that we have,” she said. Those who have attended RTB expect to see the menagerie, including the camels that are a favorite of visitors annually. The animals are provided by Jeff Baird of Morganfield, KY. He creates stall in the church’s bus barn to house the camels, and the rest of the animals stay in the city all weekend. “He tends to them every day … but we begin to smell very authentic by Tuesday,” she laughed.

RTB will run from December 8th to the 11th. On Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, the hours are from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. On Sunday, it will be open for two hours from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Groups of 20 may call and make reservations so they don’t have to wait as long.

“Sometimes the wait can be two hours or more, but we have entertainment going constantly in the sanctuary, so people don’t seem to mind to wait.” She said that community members will be singing and playing piano and there will even be a string quartet pacifying the waiting throngs.

McMurtrie encourages visitors to not wait until the last day, Tuesday, to come to RTB if at all possible, as that seems to be the day with the largest crowds. The busiest year for RTB drew 9,000 visitors, and the event usually averages about 7,500 over the four days it’s held.

“That’s about all we can get through,” McMurtrie said. “We try not to crowd it, and we want them to take their time when they go through the city to absorb it.”

return to_Bethlehem_2Casey Piscitelli
SurfKY News

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

In Other News...

Driver Charged with Murder from June Two Vehicle Fatal Collision

UPDATE: HENDERSON, Ky. (7/31/14) — William Patterson, 42, has been charged with murder in connection with a… Read More

Citizens Police Academy - Thank You

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (7/31/14) — To Chief Wade and to all the men and women on the Madisonville Police Department and… Read More
Started 11/8/2013
Started 11/8/2013

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

July 30, 2014 3647

Three Arrested in Muhlenberg as Part of…

in Top Stories by GPD Officer Wes Miller
July 28, 2014 3452

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Being a…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 30, 2014 3232

UPDATE: Waide Responds to Allegations of…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
July 28, 2014 3017

Madisonville Man Arrested for Endangering…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2552

Disagreement Over Killing Snake in House…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

July 28, 2014 3452

Madisonville Woman Arrested for Being a…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 3017

Madisonville Man Arrested for Endangering…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 28, 2014 2552

Disagreement Over Killing Snake in House…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
July 30, 2014 1788

Murder Charges Filed in Death of Hanson…

in Top Stories by Det. Jonathon Barnes
July 28, 2014 1732

Madisonville Man Arrested for Assault,…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

July 28, 2014 1193

Zuberer Takes Over at Quarterback for…

in News by Steve LeMaster
July 28, 2014 1056

Dont Miss Out on a Howl of a Good Time

in News by Brittni Bunn
July 28, 2014 933

Instant Admissions Day is Aug. 1, 2014

in News by Bernie Hale
July 29, 2014 757

Happenings and Meetings - Daviess County

in News by Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau
July 28, 2014 459

Prosecutors Mull Over Whether to Charge…

in Top Stories by Dennis Beard, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

July 30, 2014 3647

Three Arrested in Muhlenberg as Part of…

in Top Stories by GPD Officer Wes Miller
July 30, 2014 2275

UPDATE: Muhlenberg Man, Woman Arrested in…

in Top Stories by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
July 28, 2014 1444

Foot Pursuit Ends with Arrest

in Top Stories by Christopher Rogers
July 29, 2014 1369

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
July 28, 2014 1352

Boys of Broad to Launch Video at Cinema 4

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)

SurfKY Owensboro News Bureau
920 Frederica St. / Suite 210  •  Owensboro, KY 42301  •  270.683-8060 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 06social 21social 22social 04social 03