An Evening in Old Bethlehem event returns to Lufkin Expo Center

An Evening in Old Bethlehem event returns to Lufkin Expo Center
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 12:12 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2021 at 9:31 PM CST
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - An Evening in Old Bethlehem returns to Angelina County’s Henderson Exposition center this weekend after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

First United Methodist Church calls this weekend’s event “their gift to the community,’' yet this gift is not covered in wrapping paper. Instead, it is wrapped with love and hard work. Carolee Brink has organized this experience for the past 18 years. When asked why she’s done it for so long, her eyes filled with tears.

“It’s just in my heart. I mean I’ve done it for so long and it’s just so important. And my kids have grown up doing it and it’s just our gift to the community and I love being a part of it,” Brink said.

Brink said it takes one whole week to build the city of Bethlehem, and planning for the event begins in August.

“We have angels behind the baby Jesus that go from about age 4 to about 7 or 8. So it’s usually the children who’ve been the baby Jesus, become the angels, and then they become cast members so basically we’ve watched them grow up in Bethlehem every year,” Brink said.

First United Methodist Church Pastor Jerome Brimmage said they see about 4 to 5,000 people come through to view the display. The weekend features cast members of all ages, as young as 6-weeks-old.

“Our son was born in 1992 in October and he became a baby Jesus that year so he’s now 29 years of age,” Brimmage said.

Brink said it costs the church about 4,000 dollars, which they raise through fundraising. Due to the cancellation last year, they were a few steps ahead.

“I think one of the most amazing things is you don’t know how many children don’t know Jesus and we talk about the light and go find baby Jesus and to watch their faces, it’s just amazing. You know and another thing is we have grandparents that come who brought their children, and now they’re bringing their grandchildren and nothing warms your heart more,” Brink said.

Donations will be accepted this weekend at the Expo Center, but the event is free to the public. It runs December 10th and 11th from 6 to 8 pm.

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