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Turlocker creates magical holiday village

Turlocker creates magical holiday village

Rick Harden of Turlock has amassed a large collection of Department 56 collectibles, which he displays every Christmas.


POSTED December 14, 2010 9:22 p.m.

A winter wonderland of snowy mountains, majestic pines, bustling outdoor ice rinks, and cozy country inns nestled among toy workshops and candy confectioneries has come to Turlock … at least in the miniature form.

The architect of the tiny town is Turlock resident Rick Harden and his building blocks are his extensive Department 56 collection.

Department 56 is the manufacturer of gifts and collectibles and is most famously known for its expansive Christmas series.

Harden’s collection began in 1990 when three little buildings lit up something in his heart.

“I was going through some hard times,” Harden said. “I was walking through Macy’s with my daughter and I saw three of these little village pieces and they just made me feel good and my heart lighter.”

His collection began that day and over the years he has amassed more than 140 buildings and a voluminous collection of miniature trees, animals, people and other accessories.

It takes Harden two days just to unpack the collection and another two weeks to carve out his snowy landscape, map out his plan and set up the village. But the payback from all the effort is well worth it, Harden said.

“It brings some whimsy and magic to the season,” he said.

To contact Sabra Stafford e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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