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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Annual nativity experience returns to Gess†wood Camp

by Adam Gault

A popular live-action nativity performance is returning to Gess†wood Camp this coming Friday and Saturday evenings. Camp volunteers and performers will take visitors back more than 2000 years, to the time of the birth of Christ, during the annual Bethlehem Walk production.

  For the past seven years, the Bethlehem Walk has transformed the Gess†wood campgrounds into ancient Bethlehem, as performers portraying shepherds (with live sheep), Roman soldiers, angels, and townspeople, take guests through an interactive, outdoor drama that portrays the very first Christmas in a way the event’s volunteers hope brings the experience to life like never before.

  “It’s the reason for the season,” Georgeann Welsh explained, who is a member of the Gess†wood Board of Directors and is also the Bethlehem Walk event organizer that continues to grow year-after-year. “People every year, they love coming out because it seems to be the opening of the Christmas season for a lot of people and they look forward to it every year.”

  Although free to attend, donations to Gess†wood Camp’s bursary fund are appreciated, as funds collected will be used to provide underprivileged children with the opportunity to attend the camp during the summer of 2019.

Guests will be escorted through the experience in groups of up to 20 at a time, where they will experience several different scenes leading up to the birth of Christ. Visitors might hear from shepherds about their first-hand accounts of seeing an angel while tending their flocks, rumours of the birth spreading to the townspeople, to demands of taxation from Roman Centurions.

“As you move from stage-to-stage, you hear a little bit more of the story of Mary and Joseph,” Welsh said. “We just love to invite people out to see our camp.”

Welsh also contributes the ability of the show to inspire people as part of the continued success of the experience, that has had crowds come by the busload in the past.

“They come in here and they’re moved spiritually. It’s the beginning of the Christmas season, and Jesus is the reason,” Welsh said. “This just gives them a good warm feeling.”

The 2018 Bethlehem Walk will begin at Gess†wood Camp, 1034 Mole Side Rd., this Friday at 7 pm, with a second round of shows taking place on Saturday, December 1, starting at 6:30 pm.

For additional information on the performances, contact Welsh at (519) 956-8324.


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