The Vredenburg family "Christmas Miracle Village" draws big crowds to its unique animated displays and other attractions.
Animated scenes, a Christmas tree with 5,000 lights and Santa Claus are all part of the activities at the Christmas Miracle Village north of St. John.
The Village is an annual tradition for the Vredenburg family that has become a holiday destination for the past eight years. The village covers about an acre and features a variety of attractions. It is a family tradition that allows them to spread treasured memories.
"We enjoy sharing our Christmas memories, said mom Rita Vredenburg.
The Miracle Village is set up at the Vredenburg home located north of St. John about 20 miles or fie miles north of the U.S. 281 and K-19 Junction.
It's open Friday through Sunday, every weekend after Thanksgiving up to Christmas Eve. Admission is free but donations are welcome.
The Village features several little houses with a number of animated characters. One of the prominent displays is a carousel that features a real wooden carousel horse as the center piece.
A 30 feet wide Nativity scene features angels, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, sheep, Magi and camels. In the midst of the Village there is a Christmas tree made of 5,000 lights and topped with a brilliant star, Vredenburg said.
A lighted bridge goes over a pond and provides a beautiful image to the scene. There are also live donkeys.
There are several flat displays featuring Disney characters from Frozen, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Little Mermaid and Moana.
For the train enthusiast, there is an HO gauge model train plus a little train to ride Robert Vredenburg made out of a lawn mower. Children enjoy taking a rides around the area on this train thats just their size.
Other features include a bon fire, a brick fire pit and a Santa house with Santa and Mrs. Claus plus homemade goodies including fudge, cookies, popcorn and hot chocolate.
Adding to the experience are Vredenburg's grandchildren and her sister Debra Clothier's grandchildren dressed in costumes.
The family used to live in Texas and started the Village there and ran it for five years. When the "Fantasy Village" that used to be in Stafford County went out of business several years ago, the Vredenburgs bought the displays and added them to the Texas Village. Years later when the Vredenburgs moved to north Stafford County, they brought the displays with them and now they are back where they started, Vredenburg said.
Besides these original attractions, the family adds other attractions when they can.
The Village is a popular attraction and has registered over 700 visitors so far this year. Visitors have come from as far as Garden City and Nebraska.