“When I was growing up, all of my friends were sure that Santa lived at my house.”
It’s easy to understand why Sonia Koziar’s friends thought that, because her family’s farm has one of the largest Christmas holiday lights display in the country. Hundreds of thousands of colorful twinkling, glowing, shining, glittering lights decorate the house, barn, sheds, fields, and lakefront of this former dairy farm.
Holiday displays of A Christmas Carol, Santa’s workshop, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Silent Night cover the property along with the Muppets, Raggedy Ann, cowboys, elves, snowmen, and all the lords a leaping and pipers piping. The acres of multi-colored lights might not be visible from the space station, but they’re bright enough to be the beacons for Santa’s private airport.
Christmas Village started modestly. William and Grace Koziar started hanging strings of lights around their farm in 1948. Nestled in the Pennsylvania hills about an hour southwest of Bethlehem, the farm is in a charming natural setting. Each year, the display grew. The cows had to be milked before the lights were turned on because otherwise the lights would overload the system, blow the circuit breaker, and cause a blackout. The farm’s chickens lost their homes as the coops were converted into locations for holiday scenes like a skating rink, Christmas in the forest, and the fanciful Christmas under the Sea.
A large scale model railroad and village fill a paddock near the pond. A light-trimmed covered bridge is so romantic that it’s been the scene of several marriage proposals and a wedding. The aroma of hot chocolate and popcorn drifts out of shops that overflow with every imaginable holiday gift: nutcrackers and plush animals, music boxes and ornaments, knits caps, mittens, and sleigh bells.
Eventually, the display grew so large that maintenance became a year-round project. The cows were replaced with a small staff of painters, carpenters, electricians, and artists who teamed up with the now-grown Koziar children. It’s a multi-generational tradition, since many of the employees are lifelong friends who grew up with the Koziars, and their children work at the Village, too.
That tradition extends to the visitors. Sonia’s had people show her Polaroids of not only their children growing up every year in Santa’s lap, but shots of their grandchildren, too. That won’t end any time soon. The Koziars promise to keep lighting up their Christmas Village every season as long as there’s Santa and Christmas.
The magical fairyland of Koziar’s Christmas Village in Bernville, PA is open every night from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, including Christmas Eve and Christmas. http://www.koziarschristmasvillage.com/
Photos ©Fran Severn All Rights Reserved