Cape Gazette

A shed filled with Christmas magic

Edwards' village collection spans more than two decades
By Ron MacArthur | Dec 23, 2013
Photo by: Ron MacArthur For more than two decades, David and June Edwards have added pieces to their Christmas village.

David and June Edwards have gone a little overboard with Christmas spirit. When the door opens to reveal their lighted village, visitors are overwhelmed with Christmas sounds and colors, all in miniature.

Included in the village is a working streetcar, a circus complete with rides, town hall, police station, drive-in theater, roller rink, barns, churches, houses of all types, merry-go-round, theaters and even a Bethlehem village. And that's only a sampling of what can be found in a shed behind the Edwards' house on Robinsonville Road road near Lewes.

The Edwards' most cherished piece is a working wooden grist mill that David built himself. They were also fortunate to find a highly collectible, retired Ryman Auditorium, a replica of the iconic Nashville landmark.

The village started out with four lighted houses displayed on a shelf in the Edwards' living room. Fast forward more than 20 years later and the village has grown to more than 200 buildings with thousands upon thousands of accessory pieces.

What makes the village unique is that the Edwards weave their family story into the layout. One of their sons was assigned to the Blue Angels, so there an airstrip with Blue Angels jets parked on it. One of their daughters is stationed in South Korea with her husband, so there is a Korean village scene.

Visitors will discover a Cracker Barrel building, one of the Edwards' favorite restaurants. Churches honor a son who is a youth pastor. Ace Hardware and Lowe's buildings signify companies two daughters have worked for.

A circus filled with clowns depicts David's other pastime as a Shriner clown.

Collection begins with four houses

When the collection began in 1991, the Edwards added a piece or two each year. Then friends and family started giving them pieces, and before long it became a quest. The village eventually took up the bookshelves in the living room and more shelves were added.

When the village outgrew the living room, it was moved to a screened porch. The couple would painstakingly set up the village and then repack it each year. “It would take about two months to put it together working nights and weekends,” David said.

While it was fun to see the village come to life each year, it wasn't as much fun to take it down and pack it in nearly 20 plastic tubs.

The village was even transported to a Wilmington apartment where the Edwards lived for a short time.

Eventually, David came up with the idea of leaving the village up permanently in a large shed. So stacked on three levels – floor to ceiling – is the Edwards' Christmas Village. David spent countless hours wiring the village so that everything is turned on and off with the flick of one switch.

Friends and neighbors have been fortunate to see the village over the years, but for the first time this year, the couple opened their village to the public with an open houses Dec. 6 and Dec. 14 – complete with a visit from Santa Claus and refreshments. They also collected food donations for Jusst Sooup Ministry.

The Edwards have started a Christmas tradition by hiding a Santa and his sleigh piece within the village. The person who finds it is then permitted to hide it again. People in the know who have searched for Santa previously come with flashlights in hand to find the elusive old elf.

David, who has lived along Robinsonville Road most of his life, works for a fire alarm company and has a tax business. June, who is from the Millsboro area, is a seamstress who works out of their home.

But for a month each year, the Edwards are overseers of an amazing Christmas village, one that leaves an indelible mark on everyone who visits it.

This wooden grist mill – complete with turning water wheel – was handmade by David Edwards and is one of the most cherished pieces in the collection. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Houses and buildings are displayed on four levels on three sides of a large shed. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
Of course, Christmas movies play at the village drive-in theater (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
A streetcar runs along a track announcing its stops in the Edwards' village. (Photo by: Nick Roth)
The Edwards' village has its own circus complete with a big top. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Rides spin and twirl in the village carnival. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
A feature of the Edwards' large display is a Bethlehem village. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
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