The colonists observed many “fete” days such as Easter, Christmas, New Years, harvest feasts, Independence Day and others 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 4am, but there will be activities for children and adults alike. Be sure to follow our Facebook event page for details as they are posted.

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We hope you’ll plan to join us on Sunday, December 4th, for the annual Christmas in Bethel celebration.


  • Fest Hall Restaurant – Serving German and American smorgasbord from 11am to 2pm. Enjoy cookies and drinking custard with your meal, or purchase separately. Also serving soup and sandwiches throughout the day.
  • Food Stand – Candied Pecans, Hot Cocoa and Cider, Coffee, and other Christmas Goodies from 11am to 4:30pm.
  • Bethel Bakery
  • Bethel Candy Kitchen
We’ll be heating the Barn, so it should be comfortable no matter what the weather!
  • Santa & Mrs. Claus Arrive at Noon. Along with traditional “Black Santa” they will greet the children and hand out treats.
  • Candy Cane Hunt for Kids
  • Shopping: Over 25 vendors in the Colony Barn, plus other shops in town including Decades Olde and Schnickschnack, 11am to 4:30pm



  • Guided tour of Elim, Bair Haus, Fannie’s & Smokehouse, and JG Bauer.
  • Pre-purchase tickets in the Museum 11am-1:30pm (Adults $10, children 12 & under free. Proceeds go towards upkeep of Colony buildings.)



  • Vespers – a beautiful tradition! Gather at 5pm for music and readings of the Christmas story at the United Methodist Church, then a candlelight walk to the Historic Bandstand for the official lighting of Bethel.
  • Soup & Sandwiches at the Fest Hall ($5) following the lighting