Christmas village dazzles with decorations | News, Sports, Jobs


-Photo of the messenger by Chad Thompson
Cindy Kaufman, left, and her husband Dwight stand behind the Family Quilt Shop Christmas Village on Wednesday. Kaufman started collecting Christmas scenes in 1980. Every year she grows and changes. It has turned into a dazzling display that can be seen at the Fort Dodge store.

In one scene, children are happily skating on the ice. In another scene, a young couple are getting married in a church.

These are just two of many possible stories that can be told in Cindy Kaufman’s Christmas Village. The Village is a collection of winter scenes located at the Family Quilt Shop, 1200 A. St. West.

She started her extensive collection in 1980 with around 13 houses.

At this time, she and her husband, Dwight, owned a farm supply business in Mallard.

“We saw people sitting in their cars looking at him” Kaufman said.

-Photo of the messenger by Chad Thompson
This red building is a replica of Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan. It was bought by Cindy Kaufman’s sister, Sandy Mickelson, a longtime collaborator of The Messenger. Mickelson, who died in 2016, gave it as a gift to her sister. Mickelson had spent three hours at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland store, Kaufman recalls.

In the following years, Kaufman continued to build his collection. She bought several pieces in retail stores. Several others were given as gifts.

“This red is from Sandy (Mickelson)”, Kaufman said. “I get all kinds of stuff from all the different people. “

Mickelson, who was the lifestyle editor and a longtime contributor to The Messenger, is Kaufman’s sister. Mickelson died in 2016.

The red building is a replica of the Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Mickelson has already spent three hours there, remembers Kaufman fondly.

“It’s based on the original construction of their big Christmas stuff,” Kaufman said.

-Photo of the messenger by Chad Thompson
From churches to Santa’s workshop, there is no shortage of winter scenes that make up Cindy Kaufman’s Christmas Village. The collection can be viewed at Family Quilt Shop, 1200 A. St. W.

Another scene shows Boy Scouts hanging ornaments on a Christmas tree. It was a gift from Kaufman’s grandson.

“My grandson was in the Boy Scouts”, Kaufman said. “He bought them and gave them to me to put in my scene. You can only get them if you are part of the Boy Scouts.

Cindy Kaufman, originally from Vincent, has owned Family Quilt Shop for 16 years alongside her husband.

“It used to be a field of beans” Dwight Kaufman said.

She met her husband just across US Highway 169 at Iowa Central Community College.

-Photo of the messenger by Chad Thompson
This Boy Scouts scene was given to Cindy Kaufman by her grandson.

“I graduated from Iowa Central my first year there,” said Cindy Kaufman. “Now I am here. “

One of the scenes in the village is dedicated to Dwight, who had a hot dog stand.

Rocks and trees are common throughout the village. In one case, the rocks appear as snow-capped mountains.

Each year Cindy Kaufman adds items and changes the look of the village. This sometimes results in a larger time commitment.

“This year, it took me four and a half days to go up”, she said.

-Photo of the messenger by Chad Thompson
This Christmas scene features a hot dog stand similar to the one Dwight Kaufman used to operate.

Cheryl Hurdel, from Fort Dodge, was visiting Family Quilt Shop on Wednesday.

She appreciates the detail in the village.

“By looking at the village with a child, you can create a story” said Hurdel. “Have the children make up their own stories. It’s part of the magic: creating your own story.

Dwight Kaufman said visitors are welcome to view the display.

“We like people to see it” Dwight Kaufman said. “We just appreciate it and hope other people will too.” What amazes me is how she (Cindy) puts it all together.

-Photo of the messenger by Chad Thompson
“The Old Cronies Fishing Shack” is a popular scene in Cindy Kaufman’s Christmas Village.

The Family Quilt Shop is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Appointments to visit the Christmas Village can also be made outside of normal opening hours.

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