BREMEN — Every December for the last 30 years the Bremen community gets together to recreate a miracle: the Holy Walk.
For an event to bring together over 200 volunteers, involving area churches of varying denominations for the last 30 years is also a miracle. This miracle is due in large part to the Huff family. Jim, his wife Loretta, son Max Huff and his wife Linda have lent their farm, time and leadership to this event every year. Each year people from all over the region and from other countries come to experience this unique event.
The Walk has become a year-round project with a budget and purpose. The Holy Walk board consists of seven people who select 12 key people who head up different aspects of the Walk. More than 200 people volunteer for the Walk, donating everything from food and heaters to becoming the citizens of Bethlehem for a couple of nights. Volunteers who become citizens and tour guides undergo special training so that they can stay in character under various circumstances.
The town of Bethlehem consists of 15 tents scattered throughout the Huff property. Visitors register at the Bremen High School where they will wait as long as two hours to be shuttled to Bethlehem.
Once dropped off at the Huff farm, visitors are divided into groups of twenty or less and assigned a “family” member to guide them to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and then ultimately to the manger where the Christ child is. After that, it’s back to the barn for cocoa and cookies and the ride back to the school. The experience takes approximately two hours.
Each year Bremen’s Bethlehem sees about 9,000 visitors. Jim Huff said that one year they had some visitors from Israel who told them that the land and recreation were very authentic. Shuttling 9,000 people, tents, and electricity are not free, yet the Bremen Holy Walk has always been free, relying on donations by visitors, which have been sufficient to cover the expenses of providing visitors an experience like none other, reflecting the true meaning and miracle of Christmas.