Ponca Couple Shows Off Dazzling Christmas Village Display

There's only two weeks left until Christmas but one Ponca couple has been preparing for the holiday since early Fall.
They've turned their home into a Christmas frenzy to spread the Christmas spirit with the public.
The holiday village isn't your ordinary Christmas display.

It's a wonderland inside and out filled with trinkets, lights and holiday cheer.
The Christmas open house started when Julie McDowell and Gene Watchorn wanted to create a space where people could enjoy the holiday season, much like their youngest grandson did when he was little. "Not everybody can do what we're doing. When children go to the store and see displays, they're not allowed to touch. We want them to touch and to play and to have memories," said McDowell. For 30 years, the couple has been collecting items to build their Christmas home.
Currently they have more than 70 inflatables, 200 nutcrackers, 150 animated dolls and exactly 13 Christmas tree.
And as you might have guessed that's a lot of battery power, 500 batteries to be exact. It's also a lot of work.
They started building in September and just one hand-crafted village alone took 30 hours to construct, but the couple says it's worth it. "You know, like I say a lot of people don't have the privilege to see stuff like this and we just kind of got carried away,"said decorator Gene Watchorn. Kids who took the tour don't think Gene's gone overboard at all, in fact, the children we asked think "it's cool." And for one student, this may rank higher than Santa's house.
We asked on a scale of 1 to 10, how awesome is this house?
After some thinking, Ponca Elementary 4th grader Catrina said, "Mmm, um, 100'
The reason why is pretty simple.
"Cause it's really cool. They have a lot of decorations that are cool,'" she said. While 'cool' is certainly the word of the day amongst the4th and 5th graders touring the home, one student hasn't lost sight of the greater meaning here. "I think it's just spending time with the family, getting to open your presents and playing with your new toys," said Matt Hayes. That answer is just one reason why Julie and Gene bring a bit of the North Pole to Siouxland every year.
The Watchorn home will be open this weekend from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for its final tours.
Dates are the following: December 20th, 21th, 22nd.
The wonderland is located at 58960 882nd Road Ponca, NE.
For more information or if you'd like to request a private visit, call 402-755-2655.
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