With a just a week to go, the Christmas season is in full swing.Such was the case Friday at First National Bank when Santa decided to pay a visit. Toni and Ryann Canada were among several lucky children who were able to plop down on the jolly-old man’s lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.This week, other festive opportunities to take in this holiday season include this year’s annual Star of Bethlehem Experience which is taking place Friday through Sunday.“Every year, friends and family across the world reflect on the history and origins of the Christmas season,” said Tammy Lane, creator of Capernaum Village. “We created the Star of Bethlehem Experience as an authentic way of bringing that story to life.”The Capernaum property also contains the Majestic Statue Garden. Final touches on the village were completed in recent years, and to accommodate a larger crowd and a more complex event, the area underwent more than $2 million of general construction.The village itself contains a number of single and multilevel stone structures designed and positioned much like they would have been in the first century.As they witness the event, visitors may see that authenticity goes far beyond the village itself. Enlisting the help of local acting coach Twila Barnett of the Weatherford Acting, Film and Stunt Academy, Lane’s team has hired over 50 authentic-looking actors from the Dallas-Fort Worth area to play the roles of villages.“In order to build off of the authenticity and beauty of the village, it was important for us to have trained actors to make the experience truly genuine,” Barnett said. “Having actors that convey the message of authenticity through their looks and their performance adds an element to the event that people really aren’t expecting to see.”As guests enter the living town of Bethlehem, they’ll experience everything as it would have been the night that Jesus was born. Walking through the town, they’ll witness scenes that were common in the time period — Roman soldiers, villagers, potters, rabbis — before coming upon and observing the crowded inn that turned away Joseph and Mary. Guests end their journey at the Nativity scene with Joseph, Mary and newborn Jesus together in the stable.Outside the village and path, guests will also have the opportunity to experience a few of the other newly constructed areas. Up the hill from the village sits a beautiful statue garden, with over 14 life-size statues designed by the famous Korean sculptor Yon Sim Pak. The garden also contains an exact replica tomb. Next to the village sits the marketplace, which is located at the entrance to the property and will have vendors serving up food and refreshments each night.Also, don’t forget The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at Theatre Off the Square.This the final weekend for performances with Friday and Saturday nights shows beginning at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s matinee at 2 p.m.In this hilarious Christmas tale, a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant is faced with casting the Herdman kids, probably the most inventively awful kids in history. You won’t believe the mayhem and the fun when the Herdman’s collide with the Christmas story head on. This delightful comedy is adapted from the best-selling book and the only story ever to run twice in McCall’s Magazine.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102 Twitter: @Lancewinter