Von Trier makes a holiday village
For the past three decades Von Trier has been a traditional East Side destination for beer aficionados, couples looking for a romantic setting and those looking for a place with true German gemütlichkeit.
During the holidays Von Trier has also become a destination because of its impressive display of lights, garlands, poinsettias and most importantly, a wonderful collection of Christmas village models.
The idea for the Christmas Village display started with former Von Trier owner Mark Eckert who was inspired by the extensive Christmas decorations featured at Butch McGuire's on Rush Street in Chicago.
"The first village went up in 1989 with six or seven buildings and as it grew in the early '90s, customers enjoyed it and would come in every year to see the new pieces that had been added," says Eckert.
Two decades later, Eckert had amassed a collection of almost 80 Christmas Village models, all made by Department 56. During the holidays, Eckert would feature about 36-40 models over the back wall of the bar.
In November 2009, Eckert sold Von Trier to John and Cindy Sidoff, owners of Hooligan's Super Bar. The sale of the bar included the collection of Department 56 Christmas Village models.
As the Sidoff's celebrate their first year of running Von Trier, John decided to put up the Christmas Village not just above the bar, but all around the interior walls.
Nearly 80 models are now on display with their twinkling lights, snowy roofs and nostalgic memories.
To make room for so many of the models and the traditional holiday decorations, Sidoff says, "Patrick Mullarkey of Von Trier was the catalyst of the success of the Christmas Village. He installed new shelving for the models throughout the bar and strung more lights."
It took Sidoff and Mullarkey three full days of removing the existing beer steins and wall decorations to add the extra Christmas village houses.
In addition to the Christmas Village, Von Trier's holiday decorations include a boar wearing a Santa hat, dozens of poinsettias, a festive Santa decked out
in a Von Trier shirt, plus a parade of nutcrackers line up above the foyer. There is even a Menorah above the front door.
"We love continuing the holiday decor tradition at Von Trier. Its makes people smile and puts us all in the holiday spirit. All our customers love the holiday feel," says Sidoff. Long-time Von Trier regular Chuck Hansen especially likes the flashing lights on one of the miniature houses.
When asked about his favorite Christmas Village model, Sidoff says, "It's tough to pick favorites, however Big Bill's Service station, and the post office
Eckert says, "In a way you could call it 'Von Trier Town' because it reflects some of the customers and businesses in the neighborhood."
Those include the hardware store and pharmacy which represents the former Oriental Drugs; the diner is for Ma Fischer's, the bowling alley is Landmark Lanes and the Cinema 56 model is for the Oriental Theater.
The Christmas Village display will be featured at Von Trier's Holiday Party on Monday, Dec. 20, and throughout the holidays.
I think the village should stay up throughout the year! It's great!
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