The Biggest Blessing - Annual Night in Bethlehem and Live Nativity at BlackHorse Farm Dec. 18-21

Kimberly Smith

The Ashland Beacon


   December is now in full swing, and the argument of whether to put the tree up before or after Thanksgiving is behind us. Now, we are all onto the next phase- finding ways to entertain ourselves during the winter break, while making lasting memories in the process. Well, folks, look no further.

   On December 18-21, BlackHorse Farm, located in Rush, will magically transform into BlackHorse Bethlehem. Well, maybe not magically. “This idea had been heavy on my heart for such a long time,” said farm owner, Jessica Lucas-Adkins. “I carefully studied different Biblical time traditions for several months before deciding to produce our first year’s event. We want to make everything as realistic and time period correct as possible in the modern world. We kind of have the setup down to a science now; it takes us a few days to get completely set up. I would say the planning is the majority of the work.”

   So what exactly is the Bethlehem Experience at the BlackHorse Farm? After parking, you will enter the 6,000 square foot heated barn, and instantly be taken back in time as you walk through a guided tour. Lucas-Adkins explained, “The Bethlehem Experience at The BlackHorse Farm allows guests to experience the sights, smells and sounds of the city of Bethlehem the night our Savior was born. They’ll see a marketplace, tradespeople, Roman soldiers, the innkeeper; they will sip hot chocolate and taste cookies and visit with a Jewish family, listen to our Rabbi teach, speak with the women at the well and see a beautiful live Nativity complete with the animals we think were present; cows, donkeys, alpacas, goats, sheep, horses and even our two camels, Abraham and Moses.”

   You may be wondering where the inspiration to take on such an event came from. “I loved visiting the Burnaugh Baptist Bethlehem event when I was younger,” Lucas-Adkins said. “I have a barn and love was born in a barn! It’s the biggest blessing to see people take it all in during the event, and I am humbled at the fact that we have such a place that we can present the Gospel.”

   This will be the third year that BlackHorse Farm has transformed for Christmas, and it becomes more popular each year. “My husband [Chris Adkins] and I started the event using our own family and friends to volunteer, and several of my husband’s employees,” Lucas-Adkins said. Last year, BlackHorse greeted roughly 4,000 guests, and were able to collect more than 10,000 cans of food for donation. As for this year, she revealed, “We expect to have around 75 volunteers this year. Each year, we try to update or improve at least one aspect of the experience.”

   While A Night in Bethlehem is free, guests are asked to bring three cans of food per person, which will be donated to the local church food bank and Star Elementary School. RSVPs are required by going to Once on the site, you will be able to choose the day and time that you’ll come; shows are hourly Dec. 18-20 from 6-9 p.m., and Dec. 21 from 5-9 p.m. Spaces are filling up quickly, so book soon to ensure you get a spot. 

   Guests will park at Ramey-Estep Home, 2901 Pigeon Roost Road in Rush, and be shuttled courtesy of LifeSong Church to and from the farm. Parking spaces are limited, and guests are encouraged to consider carpooling when reserving their tickets. Remember to dress comfortably and arrive 15 minutes early, and be ready for free refreshments, tastings and even a group photograph.

   I think an evening to remind us all of what this season truly is about is just what the doctor ordered. Let us all take a moment to reflect on the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. Lucas-Adkins concluded “We try to make the entire experience, from the moment they arrive until they leave the farm, a beautiful, memorable one that forces guests to really think about the night Jesus was born.”

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