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Escape to the Alpine Village at the Crawford Library

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Photo by Jan Ryan The 2016 Alpine Village has been set up and is ready to view at the Crawford Library.

Warm, sunny days have been stretching far into the fall season this year and, for many Delta County residents, it is challenging to get in the holiday spirit with recent highs in the mid-60s. Despite the warm weather, the clock keeps ticking toward December, and calendars are already filling up with holiday parties, craft fairs, performances and parades. Eventually, the weather will turn for good, and we can all commence with singing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," but in the meantime, there is another way to transport yourself to a time of winter wonder.

The Alpine Village at the Crawford Library has been drawing "oohs" and "aahs" from the community for the past five years and is gearing up for the 2016 opening. On the evening of Friday, Nov. 25, spectators in Crawford can enjoy the Parade of Lights, shop at the craft fair in the community room of Town Hall, and visit Santa Claus at the Methodist Church. The Crawford Library is joining in the holiday festivities with an open house from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The Alpine Village, a series of buildings and characters sold by Department 56, will be on display for all to see along with holiday goodies for everyone.

Jan Ryan, Crawford librarian, is the reason for this magical, awe-inspiring presentation. Ryan began collecting pieces of the Alpine Village shortly after a trip to Switzerland in 1995. "It reminded me so much of the lovely, quaint architecture of Europe," Ryan says. Over many years, Ryan set the village up in her own home, adding pieces along the way, until she had acquired about 30 buildings and dozens of character figures. "When my husband, who loved the village, too, died in 2008, I stopped putting it up during the holidays, but I eventually thought I ought to share it with the community," Ryan states.

Children and adults alike seem to be mesmerized by the imagery the village creates. "What that village does, to me, is it evokes the possibility of lots of stories," says Crawford Library patron Elena Goldstein. "Each house, each building, the storybook characters ... the potential is there for lots of imaginative, funny, provocative, adventurous stories!"

It was Goldstein's sentiment about the village that sparked the idea of holding a "village inspired" writing contest in 2015. Visitors viewed the Alpine Village at the Crawford Library or on Delta County Libraries' website through a photo gallery and submitted their stories. This year, an Alpine Village Haiku Contest for all ages will run Dec. 1-31. Participants will need to follow the rules of haiku to write about the village and submit their entries to the Crawford Library in person, by mail, or through the Delta County Libraries website at http://www.deltalibraries.org/

holiday-village/. Entries will be judged by a panel of professional writers and awards will be given in each age category.

And, if you are interested in finding more holiday cheer at the Crawford Library in December, feel free to participate in the annual holiday card making event Dec. 14-17. Or, make a gingerbread house on Saturday, Dec. 17. All materials are provided by the Friends of the Crawford Library.

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North Fork
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