Couple creates Christmas joy

Published 4:53 pm Friday, December 12, 2008

Dancers decked out in Victorian clothing twirl around each other as a flurry of activity continues outside the ballroom.

Skiers slide down slopes, workers make toys in the factory, Santa flies across the sky and families sing carols outside a steak house. All of these scenes are part of Roy and Jowers’ Christmas Village.

The Jowers live just off Highway 11 and plan to open their Christmas Village to the public Dec. 16-20 from noon to 9 p.m.

Four years ago, the Jowers’ eyes glued to two small figurines at the Dollar Store. One was of a toy shop and another of a family opening presents inside their home.

“It really just exploded from there,” said.

“We’ve decorated for our children all our lives,” Jowers said — they’ve got hand-painted, wooden decorations throughout their yard. “So, after a while, you try and find something new and different.”

Roy said he’s never attempted to count every scene in his workshop, but guesses he has more than 3,000 individual figurines and pieces in all. Each year he and his daughter head out at 5 a.m. the day after Christmas to go treasure hunting for new additions to their winter wonderland.

“We’ll get in the store and they are constantly bringing things to me asking, ‘Dad, do we have this?’ I have no way of knowing,” Roy said. “We’re talking about 50-year-old folks that get this excited.”

Many of the figurines carry strong family significance. The Jowers bought one of a hockey rink for their Canadian son-in-law and another for their daughter who works for the Mobile fire department. Others depict scenes Roy remembers of his own childhood. He pointed out one that looks like a diner he and his mom would stop by while waiting on his father to get off work.

Roy said he’s noticed for a while that it’s the adults that truly get entranced by the miniature sights. He thinks it might be because they bring back memories for them too.

“The kids, they walk in and their little eyes light up,” Roy said. “But we find moms and dads have a ball with it.”

He said some just stare intently at the tiny dancing people or the playful animals.

The brightly-animated carnival scenes are Roy’s favorites. He’s got his eye on a few more to complete the scene, currently made up of a Ferris wheel, duck shoot and carousel.