Christmas Village Display at University Village

December 18, 2014

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    Ten years ago the Oklahoma Village Collectors Club (OVCC) approached University Village Events Coordinator, Kathy Gustafson, about putting up a small Christmas Village display for the residents to enjoy during the holiday season. Once the idea was approved several members of the OVCC put together a fairly small lighted Christmas Village. Every year the display grew in size until it had to be moved to its current location. Measuring approximately 8′ x 16′ the village has a train that travels throughout the village, in and out of tunnels, and sounding its whistle at every turn. A hand-on control box allows the residents, with the push of a button, to make the train start moving. The push of another button makes the train whistle. Timers are set to have the lights of the village come on at breakfast time and remain on until the residents retire for the day. This project is the biggest, and, most rewarding project the club has. Just ask any member and they will go on and on about how much enjoyment they get out of putting this village together and, watching the residents eyes light up when it’s all put together. The village stays operational from the weekend before Thanksgiving until after the first of the year. It has become a tradition with the club and the residents. Many make plans to have their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren come by for a visit so they can show them the Christmas Village and let them “run” the train. If you hang around the area for just a little bit you will realize how much joy this project brings to the wonderful people at University Village….and, how much joy the members get in watching the residents as they go back in time, remembering when they rode a train, drove to the local store for groceries, or took a leisurely buggy ride through the snow-covered streets and country roads.
The Oklahoma Village Collectors Club has approximately 30 members and has been in existence for approximately 25 years. They meet monthly throughout the year with social events and educational programs on different display techniques. Some attend yearly conventions in different cities across the nation, bringing back ideas and techniques to share with the other club members. The majority of the members collect Dept56 village pieces, but many have incorporated other brands of villages into their collections. They include Dickens Village, New England, Christmas in the City, Alpine, Snow Village, North Pole, and Halloween to name a few. The annual Christmas Tour of Homes is usually conducted after the first of the year to allow members time to enjoy family and friends during the busy holidays. Many members keep their displays up year round while others put together smaller displays for each season.
If you get a chance, drop by University Village and see what all the fuss is about.
Ask anyone where the train is and they will tell you…or, show you.

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