‘Back to Bethlehem’ walk at Hamilton farm opens for season today

Liberty’s Best, a family farm in Hamilton, is bringing back a familiar Christmas tradition. And although it’s new to the farm, “Back to Bethlehem” has long, rich history in the community.

“We wanted to carry on the legacy of what the display was intended to be, which is a Christmas gift to the community. We know a lot of people have really missed being able to experience it with their families. In all honesty, it’s the greatest time of the year, and people are very open to the Christmas story. So, we’re excited to start the next chapter in this,” said Brian Garver, owner of Liberty’s Best Family Farm.

Garver’s grandparents, Bob and Janet Niederman, and their family first opened a Christmas display on Niederman Family Farm in December of 2001. Guests from all over the world visited the display, including foreign exchange students and guests from almost every state. The Christmas display was their gift to the community.

Garver said he remembers sitting at the table with his grandparents more than 20 years ago, when they first said they wanted to do something as a gift to the community.

“The power of the story of the gospel of the birth of Christ changes people,” said Brian Garver. “So, to be able to see it live the first chapter of its life in Liberty Twp. and move into a second chapter of its life here in Wayne Twp., is really just an honor and a privilege.”

When the display went up for auction in March, an anonymous donor made the purchase of the Nativity possible, so it could remain in the area as a Christmas gift to the community.

“When the anonymous donor was willing to fund the purchase of it, their hope was that the existing reputation of the display would continue. Yes, maybe with a different twist. We’re focusing on ‘Back to Bethlehem,’ whereas, the Niederman display focused on a ‘Walk Thru the Bible,’ but it continues to be a gift to the Butler County community,” said Dayna Garver, Brian’s wife.

“Back to Bethlehem” will focus on from when Mary and Joseph are on the donkey moving to Bethlehem, through to the Nativity. By highlighting the Nativity scene and story on a quarter-mile path, guests will experience Bethlehem. Guests can also scan QR codes throughout the 15-to-20-minute walk, which will help to tell the story. There will be live actors in Bethlehem on the weekends, Fri. – Sun. There is no charge for admission to “Back to Bethlehem,” however, donations are accepted.

In addition to “Back to Bethlehem,” which is free, Liberty’s Best Family Farm will host another event, simultaneously, called “Christmas on the Farm.” There will be a charge for some of the activities at “Christmas on the Farm.”

Free things to do at “Christmas on the Farm” include holiday inflatables and visiting the animals on the farm. Ticketed activities will include a visit with Santa Claus, hayrides, decorating cookies (which includes a cup of coffee or hot chocolate,) and animal feed to feed the animals.

There are two multi-activity, ticketed options. One ticket includes a visit with Santa and a hayride for $12 and the “Fun Ticket” includes a visit with Santa, a hayride, a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, a cookie to decorate, and a sample of animal feed to feed the animals for $15. Children ages 2 and older require a ticket. Activies may be purchased individually. “Christmas on the Farm” runs from 4 to 9 p.m. each night.

“Christmas on the Farm” will be held on the front side of the farm, while “Back to Bethlehem” will be held on the back half of the farm. Christmas trees are also available for purchase.

How to go

What: Liberty’s Best Family Farm will present “Back to Bethlehem”

When: The display starts Friday and will run through Dec. 26. Hours of operation are 6 to 9 p.m., nightly, including Christmas

Where: 2103 Tolbert Road, Hamilton

Admission: “Back to Bethlehem is free. Donations are accepted. There will be a charge for some of the events at “Christmas on the Farm.”

More info: www.backtobethlehemoh.com. Also, visit www.facebook.com/libertysbestoh. Those interested in volunteer opportunities may contact Liberty’s Best Family Farm.

About the Author