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Are you finding it hard to get into the festive mood? Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, we’ve got a pretty cool spot to get your festive on, and it’s absolutely free!
Phil Hope, owner of Hope’s Foodland in Novar, has put together an incredible Christmas village. From a skating rink to trains and helicopters, the size and detail of the miniature village on display at the grocery store, just a little north of Huntsville, is truly awe inspiring.
It’s not uncommon to see people, young and old, mesmerized by the intricate parts of the village. Sometimes they stand at the entrance for 15 to 20 minutes checking it all out, said Hope.
“Some are beaming, some actually have a little tear… it brings back memories of their childhood. Last year we had a family of five generations… they were here for almost an hour,” said Hope.
He’s been building the village around this time of year for the past six years. It’s seeing children’s eyes light up and people’s curiosity, and sometimes a little nostalgia, that keeps him going.
The miniature village measures roughly 26 by 26 feet and contains about 300 pieces—some of which have been donated by three ladies, one in Huntsville, one in Almaguin and one from Novar. Hope has a sign with some of the lanes named after the ladies whose pieces have contributed to making the village. Included are toys from his grandson and local children.
It took Hope about three weeks to put the village together. “Get in the spirit, if you like it buy something and donate it to the food bank. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years to give back to the community sort of thing, and it doesn’t cost anybody anything. I don’t use staff. I just putter at it… I just get a vision and I start,” said Hope. “Every year is totally different.”
On occasion, Hope said he’ll get a jab from some of the dads in the community. “They’ll say, ‘Phil you’ve got to stop doing this, we’ve got to do this at home now.’ So it’s not always a pat on the back,” he quipped. “Sometimes it’s ‘you’re getting me in trouble.'”
He also gets people asking him if they can bring in ornaments and add them to the display—things like that are what makes the work worthwhile, he said.
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