A Family’s Love of Christmas
Driving through the darkened countryside and coming over that last hill on the unlit country road is like driving into a dazzling fairyland. Strolling through Koziar’s Christmas Village is like stepping back in time to a simpler age of awe, wonder, exhilaration and magic.
It all started in 1948, with the Koziar family’s simple love of Christmas. Back then, the Koziar property was Koziar’s Spring Lake Dairy Farm, encompassing a stone farmhouse, a barn and various animals.
“My parents, Bill and Grace Koziar, would gather around our kitchen table with my two sisters, my brother and me, and we would discuss new things we could we add for next year,” said Sonia Koziar, who currently resides on the property and oversees the operations with her sister Beverly.
Sonia’s parents always decorated the windows, the roof, porch and barns with many lights, much to the awe and appreciation of neighbors and friends, but with that one question everything changed.
“That next year, we decided to add a display building, ‘Twas the Night before Christmas,” Sonia recalls. “We had a dancing Santa Claus and each of us gave one of our favorite toys including a large doll, a fire truck, and others to add to the display. We still feature this display and people love it.”
There’s nothing like being on a dark country road, approaching the hill in total darkness and seeing beautiful lights and then the decorated barn. In the beginning, local word of mouth had people parking on the hill in a wheat field to see the 6,500 lights. Some even stopped to knock on their door, asking to come in for a better look.
Not soon after, a New York newspaper reporter asked to visit and run a feature article, bringing even more attention to the Koziar property. It wasn’t long before there were cars parked all over. “My father had to close the corn field and charge a dollar per car, just to get people off the road.”
As the Koziar’s ideas grew for other displays each year, more people came and continued media interest sparked. The 6,500 lights turned into a million and people were visiting from all 50 states and countries as far away as Germany, China and Japan.
“It’s amazing to us,” admitted Sonia. The close-knit Koziar family stuck together and helped bring this Christmas vision and joy to reality. “No matter where we were in the world, we came home to help.” After their parents passed away, the siblings ran the farm but no longer operated it as a dairy farm, although they still harvested crops.
Planning each Christmas Village season takes the Koziar’s an entire year, from planning the theme to setting up the displays and overseeing staff, most of whom have been with the family for generations.
Each building is adorned with twinkling lights and the sight is festive and ethereal. Many buildings surround the Village’s glowing paths, including barns, gift shops, concessions, a life-size gingerbread house and much more. Christmas Around the World is a special display. Leading up to the building, wooden paintings of children from around the world beckon the visitors inside and signify that Christmas spirit is felt globally.
There is plenty to see with all of the returning 35 displays, but the Koziar’s always add something new. This year, the Koziar’s are presenting a museum, which is especially heartfelt for the family. It features a history of the Christmas Village and is located in the Carriage House and holds vintage sleds and sleighs and other nostalgic items from their childhood. Another new addition is the jungle-themed display with many life size animals.
“As you meander through the Village, you see parents skipping and singing with their children. It’s a wondrous thing to witness. A customer recently told me it was his 57th year attending. He brought his son, grandson, and mother with him. This is definitely an experience that draws generations of families and allows them to share something special during the holiday season.”
The young and young at heart are gathered here making memories and sharing their joy and love of the Christmas season. They’re outdoors, walking, singing, and laughing. Each year, the Koziar’s Christmas Village season comes full circle. “We make many people very happy,” said Sonia. “Our parents’ dream was to spread the Christmas joy. This is such a meaningful tribute and for that we’re forever grateful.”
Koziar’s Christmas Village is located at 782 Christmas Village Road, Bernville, PA and is open at night through January 1, 2019. Monday-Friday 6-9 p.m., Saturday 5-9:30 p.m., and Sunday 5-9 p.m. For continuous updates, “Like” Koziar’s Christmas Village on Facebook.
By: Allison Mowatt
Kozair’s Christmas Village
782 Christmas Village Rd., Bernville, PA