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Flag Pond Ruritan, churches work together to stage Live Drive-Thru Bethlehem

By Richard Rourk

An event in the mountains of southern Unicoi County is set to remind the community of the reason for the season.

Contributed Photo by Myra Harris • Come out this weekend (Dec. 4-5) for the Live Drive-Thru Bethlehem at the old Flag Pond school.

The third annual returns to the grounds of the old Flag Pond school on Dec. 3-4. “The Flag Pond Ruritan, along with many area churches, sponsor the event,” event organizer Myra Harris told The Erwin Record. 

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“There is no cost but donations can be made, if desired, to the Flag Pond Ruritan,” Harris added.

Visitors can expect a different experience when they visit. 

“The cast varies with many helping from various area churches as well as people in the community and beyond,” Harris said. “Visitors can expect to view scenes leading from before Christ’s birth through his resurrection from their car. A city and scenes have been built to travel through with cast members and live animals.”

Depending on traffic, Harris estimated a visit to the event could take 15 to 20 minutes to fully enjoy the live, mobile experience. 

“There will likely be a line to enter,” Harris said. “We will have people directing traffic.”

There could be a few challenging technical aspects to overcome.

“We recommend that guests figure out how to turn headlights off for the best viewing experience,” she said. “That’s not a simple task with newer vehicles.”

Friday visitors to the event will be able to experience a tree-lighting ceremony prior to the drive-through. 

“We are also having a tree lighting on Friday… at 6 p.m. on the school grounds,” Harris said. 

Harris said that Beverly Rice, a neighbor who lives next to the school, has donated a huge tree. 

“She donated a tree last year, as well, Harris noted.  “Hot chocolate, marshmallows to roast and hot coffee will be provided and everyone is welcome.”

The Third annual Live Drive-Thru Bethlehem is scheduled to run Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Flag Pond School, which is located at 917 Old Asheville Highway.