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Sparkling Christmas Snow Village making spirits bright in Bloomfield

June and Rene Soetens with daughter Sarah, holding the Christmas tree lot which started their collection some 40 years ago. – Sue Capon photos

In the absence of Santa Claus parades, it’s taking a village, literally, to make spirits bright this holiday season as the Bloomfield & Area Business Association presents an incredible miniature snow village display in the United Church Community Hall.

The private Snow Village collection comprises more than 80 lighted buildings and more than 1,000 accessories, figures, props and scenes. It’s on loan from the Zomer family, and has taken more than 40 years to curate. The local shops, theatre, church, firehall, train station, a lighthouse overlooking the water, and more is reminiscent of small-town charm and architecture.

“The village could be a town in PEC,” says Sarah Zomer, co-owner of the Flame + Smith restaurant. The collection belongs to her parents June and Rene Soetens.

A small Christmas tree sales lot was the first piece in their massive collection.

“Mom bought the Christmas tree lot piece in the late ’70s because it reminded her of where our family bought our trees. Over the years, friends and family bought her other pieces and the collection kept growing. Dad sets up the village a bit different each year, and friends stop by for a viewing and holiday cheer. It’s a fun holiday tradition.”

June is hard-pressed to pick out which are her favourites, but glancing over the room, she notes she rather likes the Ford dealership as they have always driven a Ford, but also appreciates the replicas such as the Dick Clark house, the Elvis and Griswold homes.

“The collection just happened,” said June. “Snow Village was discontinued briefly in the late 70s and brought back in the 80s and took off again, so that’s why some are a little different than others,” she notes.

Folks with a keen eye will recognize that each building is a replica of a real building in North America. Some have a pop cultural references, such as the replica home of Clement C. Moore, the author of The Night Before Christmas; Elvis’ Graceland, decorated as he decorated his house in the ’50s and the Griswold’s overly decorated home from the 1989 National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie. There’s also an old Eaton’s department store delivery truck, a parade, fire station and so much more.

This is the first time the collection has been on public display. It has taken more than 70 hours to set it up in the church’s community hall. Physically distanced tours (masks required) are available by donation, Nov. 27-30 and Dec. 3-6. All proceeds go to local community programs. Entry is from the church’s parking lot. COVID-safety protocols will be in place – masks, hand sanitizer, physical distancing and contract tracing. No more than 10 people are allowed in for a viewing at a time.

It is part of Bloomfield’s Winter Celebration Making Spirits Bright. The celebration also asks residents and businesses to decorate with lights, and visit an outdoor winter market downtown Nov. 27-28 & Dec. 5-6.

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  1. The Johnstones says:

    What a generous gesture! Thank you for sharing your collection.

    Will definitely visit this wonderful ‘village’.

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