KENTVILLE - Julie Sollows smiles as she reflects on the most common reaction from guests seeing her impressive Christmas village display for the first time.
“They can’t believe it,” she says with a laugh.
The village is meticulously placed on a shelving unit measuring 7.5 feet by six feet. The display features 15 scenes, with themes ranging from the ocean and farming to outdoor fun and a night on the town.
“Sometimes people walk by and see it, and I’ve had somebody come to the door,” the Kentville resident said.
The village continues to grow as Sollows finds interesting pieces to add to the varied display that takes days to perfect each year.
“I like it when it’s done,” she joked.
“It’s a lot of work to set up.”
The collection includes several pieces that remind Sollows of past adventures. One item in particular, a glass replica of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, brings back memories from the four times she drove to Las Vegas, Nevada to visit her daughter. She made the cross-country trips alone, going twice in her 50s and twice in her 60s.
“Everybody thought I was crazy - and now I know it,” she says.
She’d often stop to eat at Cracker Barrel restaurants close to the highway exits, and bought the replica piece for her village in Virginia. She regularly returned home from her trips with new additions for her village, and estimates that 30 to 40 pieces came from the States.
“I love to collect things,” she says.