Yes, we are going to offer tours!

Tours #2, #3 and #4 are full at this time.

We will be offering two different tours, a House Tour and a Chicago Highlights Tour, for your enjoyment.  Registration cut-off will be September 1, 2012.  

1.  House Tour  - Thursday, Sept. 20 at 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.and Sunday, Sept. 23. at 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon.  

There will be three (3) houses on the tour with a final stop at European Imports for shopping.  The tour will include a lunch consisting of your choice of ham, turkey or a veggie sandwich, chips, cookie and a drink.  The cost of the tour is $25.00 and each tour is limited to the first 35 people who register.  Driving directions to the tour houses WILL NOT BE OFFERED.  The only way to see the houses is to be on the tour.

The House Tour will take you to three homes with quite different displays, a stop at a top-rated gift store for shopping, (yes, they have an extensive supply of Dept. 56 village product), then returned to the hotel.   


At the first home, the North Pole village is highlighted.  This couple has ALL the pieces of the North Pole village on display.  It is truly a village, with zoning restrictions and is usually taken down and put up again each year so that newer buildings can receive the highlight they deserve.  A wide variety of different lighting techniques are used, including hollow acrylic rods and LED lights.   They have learned many display tricks at the Gatherings that they have attended and you are urged to look closely to see which ones you can pick out.  It all began so innocently with a North Pole building received as a gift in 1992.  The collection grew slowly until - well, you know the rest; in one year it grew from 10 to 40!  It kinda got out of hand and now covers three and a half walls in the living room and has crept into the dining room and sunroom as well.  Originally, it was “her” collection and then “he” helped with the table construction.  But - a monster was created and it is now “their” collection.  Early on the statement was made “I will NEVER have a village”; but things change.  There is also a bonus Halloween display in the family room.



Wait. Loading...


The second home is quite difficult to describe.
  This collector is extremely creative and some of her work has been featured in publications such as the Village D-Lights.  One feature not to be missed is the casket!  Without plans, the casket was made from drawings seen on a website.  When you see it, you will not believe that it is foam - looks like the real thing, along with the skeleton inside.  Throughout the displays, special buildings are seen such as those from State Farm, Marshall Fields, and Avon.  The collection includes the Snow Village with the original six buildings as well as six buildings from the Brockmann days.  This, along with the North Pole Village, is displayed in a large room, about 25 ft by 50 ft.  Then, in another room about half that size, is the Halloween display.  All in all, over 600 lighted buildings are seen in the collection in ways that will amaze the viewer.  Many of the older buildings are displayed in several showcases for preservation.  Trains are also very evident and visitors will see a very unique set of displays with loads of creativity.




Wait. Loading...

The third home highlights the Dickens’ Village, the ENTIRE village.  Unless you are a “Dickens’ Addict”, you may see some buildings you have never seen before.  This homeowner even added a room on to the house to accommodate the village, the “Village Room”.  In addition to the pieces from the Dickens’ Village, all variations are also to be seen.  For example, the Village Church was produced in five color variations due to different production facilities - and - all of the variations are included in the display.  With over 400 lighted buildings, this is a permanent display constructed with plywood levels covered with fabric, cotton, and “snow”.  Different areas of the display show Victorian London, buildings from Dickens’ stories, commercial and retail areas as well as residential and rural areas.  Villages within the village!  A good variety of display techniques are seen including rivers and ports.  A few appropriate pieces from other villages are used, for example, to complete the port area.  This collector has also been able to display several paper models and an unpainted building.  Many good ideas will be taken from this visit.

Wait. Loading...

2. Highlights of Chicago Bus Tour - Wednesday, Sept. 19, and Thursday, Sept. 20.  The tour will start from the hotel at 8:30 a.m. and arrive back at the hotel around 1:30 p.m.; lunch is NOT included.  A stop will be made at the Wilis (Sears) Tower.  The tour price includes admission to the skydeck.  Each tour is limited to the first 29 registrants. The cost of the tour is $60.00 per person.  The gratuity for the bus driver is included in the cost of the tour. the gratuity for the tour guide is at the discretion of each participant.  Here's the information provided to us from the tour company regarding this tour.

Each tour is subject to cancellation if the minimum number of participants is not met.  Your checks will be held until the bus is full.  In the event that the minimum number is not reached your monies will be returned to you at the Gathering.