Blog: Today at the Visitor Centre..

It’s usually around the middle of November when David Winter gets the call. After that point, he’s doing some decorating double-duty, but that’s OK. It means Christmas is coming.

David and his wife Beverley as you may know, live up to their last name this time every year (sorry / not sorry, I always work that one in 😉 – they’re the Peachlanders who haul up to a dozen Christmas trees from storage every year, decorate each one, and then open their home to visitors, who in turn bring donations for our local food bank.

If my count is correct, this would have been their 14th year – but of course this is 2020 and plans have changed. For this reason, I’m really glad I ran into David today at the visitor centre.

Back to that phone call he gets every year: That’s his cue to start setting up the holiday village. It’s a Charles Dickens Christmas scene, complete with snow-capped trees, cozy homes, and of course, a train winding its way through. It takes pretty much two full days to get all 50 houses (and about that many characters) all set up. Underneath each building is a number, and there’s a number on each box.

David Winter and his handiwork.

“Then, it’s a matter of making sure all the lights are working and the train is running,” says David.

As I’m talking at him, he’s just finishing up – but there’s one really important thing missing.

“I ran out of sparkles. You know those jars of glitter? I need to get more of that. You’ve got to spread it around,” he laughs.

Totally.

We chat some more – he and Beverley plan to still share their home full of decorated trees by taking pictures and sharing them online. He plans to put them on a local Facebook page, and will email them my way, so I can share with you.

That’s a couple weeks away, though. Today, there’s actually more merriment at the visitor centre to tell you about. Phyllis Papineau (another subscriber and person I was happy to see again after so long!), told me all about the little Christmas area they’re setting up – there’s the model train village of course, and a tree set up with some vintage ornaments (and another one will be set up nearby, featuring ornaments from local artists). There’s a candy cane-coloured chair and a sleigh – perfect for taking any Christmas-themed photos for the family this year.

They don’t want the hoards, of course, so be mindful of timing your visit, wear a mask, all those things – but the volunteers here still wanted to do something that would make some merry this season.

“This is for the children and for families,” she says, noting the sleigh is actually a piece of Peachland history.

Art, a wine fridge, jewelry, a hockey jersey and lots more are on display at the visitor centre – but you need to bid online.

“It’s from the Topham family, and it was used to haul wood. It was behind the museum, but it’s been fixed up and we thought it would be nice for it to be seen – it’s a real one-horse open sleigh!”

There’s another volunteer I had the pleasure of seeing today – and actually what she’s working on is the reason I went to the visitor centre in the first place.

Shelley Sweeney is part of the Peachland Recovery Task Force. They’re the group putting on the Light Up Virtual Gala and today, the silent auction is live. You can see everything set up at the visitor centre, and to place your bid, head over here.

I’ll have more on the online gala for you tomorrow – and over the next few days.

As for today, I guess my overall point is this: That Peachland sense of community – you know, the reason we love it here (in addition to the lake, the weather, wine, etc.) It’s alive and well. And under my mask, it made me smile.

Written by Kristen Friesen

November 26, 2020

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