Going back to Bethlehem - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Going back to Bethlehem

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- You can take a step back in time this weekend. English Lutheran Church in La Crosse will once again host "The Bethlehem Event."

It's the first time since 2008 the church has re-created the city of Bethlehem as it might have looked 2000 years ago. More than 100 actors, along with live animals, authentic foods, smells and sounds will transport visitors to biblical times.

Pastor Mark Solyst said the event aims to show the heart of the Christmas holiday.

"There's thousands of people who come which makes it exciting," said Solyst. "You just generate energy from all the people that are here, but then when you get to the end, you get to the manger, and it's quiet in the manger, and you see the baby--it's an experience."

With construction of their new fellowship hall completed last year, English Lutheran now has a space for they said even better captures the feel of a traditional Middle-Eastern city.

Committee Chairman Paul Sannerud said, "Bethlehem was a walled city. When you have those walls, that's expensive and time consuming, so your cities become very compact. As you walk through, you'll feel kind of the congestion that you would have felt in a city like this."

Upwards of 1000 people are expected to visit the event which runs Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. each day. All are welcome and admission is free.

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