BETHEL, Mo. — Members of the Bethel Colony invite everyone to attend the Christmas in Bethel celebration Sunday, Dec. 5.
The colonists observed many “fete” days such as Easter, Christmas, New Year’s, harvest feasts and Independence Day with music, singing, dancing and visiting. On these occasions tables were loaded with all the good things the German kitchen and cellar could offer. Everyone was welcome and many came.
At Christmas time, there were two large decorated trees in the church. The celebration began at four o’clock in the morning at the church with singing and band music and then a sermon, after which all the children were given candy, apples, cakes and cookies. The two trees were left until New Year’s when the gifts were given to everyone.
These days the festivities don’t start at 4 a.m., but there will be activities for children and adults alike. Bethel continues to host an annual “Christmas in Bethel” celebration to gather as neighbors and friends to start off the Christmas season. There will be plenty of food, historic home tours, gift and craft vendors, children’s activities and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and traditional vespers and candlelight walk to end the day.
Food will include a German and American smorgasbord served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fest Hall Restaurant, a food stand serving funnel cakes, candied pecans, hot cocoa, coffee and cider and other Christmas goodies will be open from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and cinnamon rolls, sweet breads and homemade noodles beginning at 6 a.m.
Vendors will have various items inside the heated Colony Barn. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at noon to greet children and hand out treats, following COVID precautions. A candy cane hunt for children will start at 12:30 p.m. Children’s crafts will be at Decades Olde.
The Colony Walking Home tour begins at 2 p.m. and includes Fannie’s, Smokehouse, J.G. Bauer and Colony Museum destinations. Tickets will be available in the museum from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Proceeds will go toward the upkeep of Colony buildings.
The vespers service will take place at 5 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, followed by a candlelight walk to the historic bandstand for the official lighting of Bethel. Soup and sandwiches will be served at Fest Hall restaurant after the lighting.
A complete schedule is available by visiting historicbethel.org, and the celebration’s Facebook event page will include details as they are posted.