Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Realistic village displayed in basement


Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

DuRain decides where to put a popcorn machine.

It's just like any other small town.

Rows upon rows of houses and businesses make up the streets.

A pedestrian bridge constructed over a railroad is busy with residents carrying packages to their homes.

Yes. It's just like any other little town.

There is only one major difference -- it's not real.

It is only the scene of a very well built and displayed Christmas village which is nestled in the basement of one Green River resident.

It is hard to believe that all of it started from a few miniature cardboard Christmas houses Deb DuRain received as hand-me downs.

"I was a Christmas nut," DuRain said. "You know how it is when you're just starting out. You don't have any money."

The cardboard houses were given to DuRain in 1971; and the collection just grew from there.

DuRain still proudly displays her first tiny village on a shelf. The shelf above it holds her second tiny village, which was made out of plastic which she received from another family member.

"Then, I just started picking up a few. What I could afford," DuRain said. "The priority was the kids."

When DuRain couldn't find anymore mini houses she started to buy bigger ones. DuRain didn't care who made the village houses or businesses. If she liked them, she bought them. It was as simple as that. She has some by Thomas Kinkade, Lemax, Avon and Holiday Time, to name a few.

"I don't wait for the sale," DuRain said. "Because if you wait, you won't get it."

One of the Thomas Kinkade houses recites the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem.

This year, DuRain purchased nine more houses. She was proud to say that technically she didn't really buy them, she traded a Crown Royal blanket for them.

For the past three months, DuRain has been setting up her village. During this time, she puts houses and businesses up and then moves them if she doesn't like where they are at.

"I do it kind of different every year because I do different scenes," she said.

More than 300 houses, churches and businesses make up DuRain's village.

"Last year, my kids added them up to 280 and I've bought a lot more since then," DuRain said.

Some may wonder where DuRain's Christmas village infatuation came from.

"My grandmother loved Christmas. The only thing I remember my grandpa letting her put up was a tree," a tearful DuRain said. "I do it for her."

As for a favorite, DuRain could not pick one out. They all have a special place in her heart. However, she did point out a cabin one of her friends made her.

It's not just about the buildings either, as much attention is placed on the details as well. From fake mountains and snow, to children playing and firefighters at the fire station.

No street, building or hillside was left without some sort of detail.

DuRain's village even has a Santa Claus who is taking animals Christmas present requests.

One could literally sit down in DuRain's basement for hours and still not see everything.

DuRain is also proud of the details, from the Eagle's nest with an eagle perched next to it to the wolf howling on the mountainside. Nothing has been left untouched.

This year, DuRain was proud to put a pedestrian bridge over a railroad just like Green River has.

DuRain didn't even want to think about how much money was spent on her collection, but she guessed the buildings alone were probably about $35 each. This doesn't include all of the additional decorations, such as trees, people, cars, trains and snow.

"It takes so long because I move stuff," she said.

Her village continues to grow each year and this year was no different. DuRain needed 12 6-foot tables, four 4-foot tables and one card table to hold the entire village.

This doesn't include the houses and businesses she has set up on various shelves and coffee tables throughout the basement.

Star photo by Stephanie Thompson

Deb DuRain spends three months constructing her Christmas village. This is just a portion of that village.

DuRain said she uses the totes the buildings are stored in to build up mountains. The town is quite realistic.

She has just about every business one could think of, including a casino, tattoo parlor, bar, a motorcycle dealership, fast-food restaurants, a post office and banks.

"I even got a jail," DuRain said.

Even with all of these and much, much more, DuRain still sees room for expansion. Since she can no longer build out, she is going to build up.

"I can put a shelf all the way around so I can put more houses on it," she explained.

DuRain is always looking for something different to add to her collection.

After Christmas, she takes everything down and puts it back into totes until the next year.

For now, DuRain will enjoy her village every night while she works on her crafts.


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