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Kitty Coleman barn in Comox Valley 'kind of blows them away'
Not yet in the Christmas spirit?
Worry not. It can be found about 15 minutes north of Courtenay at Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens.
Over the years, the garden lights and barnyard visits with Santa have become a tradition for many locals. Owner Bryan Zimmerman says some who visited as children continue to visit as adults with their own kids.
"Lots of new people, too," said Zimmerman, who loves the reaction from first-timers. "Kind of blows them away when they go into the barn."
Each year, the 73-year-old Zimmerman spends several weeks preparing the barn and the garden lights, which hang from trees, bushes and water features on 24 acres of forested land.
An 18-foot inukshuk created out of about 1,700 horseshoes will again stand near the entrance to the gardens.
As in past years, the Cantiamo Chamber Ensemble will sing carols at the gardens Dec. 14, 15, 21, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m., weather permitting
"If the weather is good, we're very well-attended," Zimmerman said, noting weekends are "zoo land" when Santa is onsite.
A bonfire burns on weekends. Hot chocolate, mulled cider and hot dogs are available.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a camera to take photos with Santa. Visits are by donation.
Santa visits the barn Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Garden lights and Santa's Barn are open every night from 5 to 9 p.m. until Jan. 1.
Regular admission is $8, or $10 when the choir performs. Families are $25. Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens is at 6183 Whittaker Rd. north of Courtenay.
For more information, visit www.woodlandgardens.ca or call (250) 338-6901.