Area residents who want to experience what life might have been like in Bethlehem during the birth of Jesus can get a glimpse into that period through The Bethlehem Project.

The free community event is planned for 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Russ and Sandy Sylvester Farm, 1792 Kingman Road.

“The Bethlehem Project is held to celebrate Christmas by making the coming of Jesus real for everyone,” organizers said.

While on the outdoor walking tour, participants will meet Roman guards, rabbis, shepherds, angels, marketplace vendors, Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and wise men during a stroll with their guide, according to The Bethlehem Project’s website —

    “People should dress warm — it’s an outside walking tour that takes about 35 minutes,” Larry Carrier, Ottawa Bible Church pastor, said. “This year, we’ll also have animals for kids to pet.”

Ottawa Bible Church, 1623 Poplar St., is coordinating the event, with members of numerous Ottawa churches also involved in the annual project.

Local artisans are expected to display their skills in the marketplace by making candles, pottery, soap and wood products, organizers said, with items available for purchase directly from the artisans.

Hot chocolate and cookies will be available at the conclusion of the tour.

While the event is free, donations collected will go to Hope House and the Life Care Center in Ottawa, according to the event’s website.

The Bethlehem Project has moved locations this year to the Sylvester farm from GreatLife Golf & Fitness, 1001 E. Logan St., Ottawa, pastor Carrier said, because of space limitations this year at the golf course.

“The Sylvesters were gracious enough to volunteer to host the tour at their farm,” Carrier said. 

The pastor said a couple of advantages to having the event at the farm include the additional space and that tour guides will not have to compete with traffic noise. The golf course is located next to K-68 in Ottawa.

Organizers ask that groups of 20 or more — or people with special needs — call ahead to make reservations at (785) 248-1948.

To reach the Sylvester farm from the intersection of Main and 23rd streets in Ottawa, go west on 23rd Street for 3 miles (23rd Street becomes Labette Road after crossing Eisenhower Road). At Kentucky Road, turn left and go 1 mile to Kingman Road and turn right. Travel 1.5 miles to 1792 Kingman Road. Bethlehem is on the left.

The weather forecast looks favorable for the outdoor event this weekend — which organizers said they are hopeful will translate into large crowds — with highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-40s Friday through Sunday, according to

“The forecast looks good,” Carrier said. “I think we’re going to have good weather this year.”

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at