With an even earlier start than in previous years, Denise and Jim Maderios began getting into the Christmas spirit in August.
While some lights are involved, early setup includes setting up tables, pulling up plywood, constructing mountains, train bridges and more out of Styrofoam and other ideas Denise finds online.
The setup is for Christmas on Cascara, a miniature display village in the Maderios’ Courtenay garage. This is their fourth year opening their display to the public and what the couple believes is the largest Christmas village display in the Comox Valley.
They began their collection about 30 years ago, and estimate their current collection includes approximately 220 houses, about 400 people and 300 cars - all of which are set up in a walk-through display. New this year is a gondola over a ski hill, a handmade bridge painted in green (an homage to the Fifth Street bridge) and four miniature interactive rides with buttons for children to try, notes the couple.
This year, they hope the display village - located at 2860 Cascara Cres. - will bring in as many people as possible.
“We are anticipating 300 people,” says Jim. ” We’re open 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 23 to Dec. 23, but we will open for private viewings as well.”
Admission is by donation, with all proceeds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank, the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and The Autism Program (TAP) through the Comox Valley Child Development Centre. They will also be accepting non-perishable goods for the food bank.
Visitors can search for Comox Valley landmarks in the village such as the 19 Wing Comox, Mount Washington, and the former Starlight Theatre Drive-In theatre with speaker boxes (Denise adds with a laugh that kids ask why there is an electric charging station).
New this year is a polar bear zoo, and even a few hidden items for children to search for throughout the display, including a ‘Where’s Waldo’ and a Santa using the bathroom.
The facility is wheelchair-accessible, and the couple is looking forward to welcoming groups from local retirement homes and organizations. Additionally, they encourage families to come by for multiple viewings, as it’s easy to miss many details with so many items on display.
For more information or to book a private viewing, call the Madeiros at 250-897-5643 or 250-218-7177.