"A hobby isn't worth much, if you can't share it with others," says Prineville resident Cae Elmore as she looks over some of the 1,300 pieces making up the holiday scene on display at Ochoco Village Assisted Living Center.
>A growing family tradition is shared with the community
Elmore has been collecting village scene pieces for more than 30 years now and says she is very familiar with most every Christmas supply store in existence.
It's a growing tradition that started with three little houses strategically arranged under the family Christmas tree back in the 70's. Since that time the village has grown large enough to create a new theme every year.
"Our idea is to make it look like a working village," Elmore explains pointing out the many details that help to transform the scene.
Tiny handmade shirts and pants swing in the breeze on a clothesline, smoke rises from chimneys and a working dam supplies the water for the stream running through the center of town. "It's hard to make it real detailed but we're doing what we can to bring it to life," she said.
Elmore's daughter, Patti VanVlack began constructing the project about two weeks ago, installing the electricity and sculpturing the landscape. "This year I'm doing things I've never done before," VanVlack said enthusiastically.
Wildlife proliferates throughout the village where foxes peek around boulders and small herds of deer munch on foliage.
VanVlack points out that the winter village is actually a living exhibit complete with it's own owl `Angel' who observes noncommittally from her perch nearby.
Trees in plenitude fill in the landscape, capturing the snow falling from the hand of helper Waunita Shayket. "Waunita has been a big help to us this year," VanVlack said.
VanVlack will also be constructing two additional village exhibits from the same collection for the holidays. Both will be located at the public library. "One of them will be winter sports for children which will be located in the children's section and the other will be located in the foyer of the library depicting a bustling town square complete with replicas of stores and old cars," Elmore said.
The turn of the century village scene will be on display and available for public viewing through New Year's Day with a formal lighting ceremony scheduled for this Saturday, Nov. 24 at 6 p.m.
"I'm so proud of these gals, they've worked so hard," events coordinator Georgia Chandler said adding that everyone is welcome to drop by and see the village while it's on display at Ochoco Village. "We'll have refreshments and possibly a choir during the lighting ceremony."
The Winter Village is set up in the Sun Room located on the second floor. For more information call 416-3600.