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A Storybook beginning

Dilley's biennial holiday display lights up on Thursday

Seventy-five years ago, a Forest Grove timber man by the name of William McCready was looking for a unique and community-minded way to celebrate the holidays.

He settled on McCready's Fairyland, a collection of mechanical storybook characters which he displayed for all to see.

When he died in 1962, the city took over the display, but it had no permanent location or sponsor (for a time the displays were set up in the Pacific University gym).

So, when Marge and Norris O'Rear bought a house and large lot in Dilley in 1978, Marge, who'd worked for McCready Lumber, had an idea.

Soon, Storybook Lane became an every-other year tradition just south of town.

And 2011 is a year when it magically comes to life.

The work started in earnest a couple weeks ago as friends and neighbors help family members by putting strands of lights on 50 evergreens wired to poles while others spread bark dust around the displays dotting the family's sprawling yard south of Forest Grove.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, the family starts hauling out the displays. Some need touch-up paint and sealer. Small motors, used in many of the displays, are cleaned and greased. Many things need a good scrubbing, including the fencing made from PVC pipe and painted with red stripes for a candy cane look.

Looking at the property, you'd think Marge and her late husband picked the place as a home for Storybook Lane.

After all, the opening to the huge barn and machine shed creates a grand entrance of sorts into the little village of nursery rhymes, fairy tales and Disney characters.

And crowds aren't a problem. There's room to park 50 cars and the circular drive around the barn makes for an easy entrance and exit.

It's a huge effort, which explains the alternating years of rest. The family does accept donations to help cover the cost of electricity, but in keeping with William McCready's original idea 75 years ago, it's really a gift to the community.

info

What: Storybook Lane

When: 5:30-9:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15 through Christmas Day.

Where: 4288 SW Bantam Ave.

Directions: From Forest Grove, head south on Highway 47 to Dudney Avenue (the turnoff of Dilley Elementary school) and make a sharp left on Dudney. Then, make an immediate left on Bantam Avenue. Storybook Lane will be on the right.