A little Christmas city in Eagle | VailDaily.com

A little Christmas city in Eagle

Kathy Heicher
Eagle, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/EnterpriseMiniature homes and shops make up Bobby Ahrens' Christmas Village in Eagle, Colorado.

EAGLE, Colorado ” Christmas town is located about five miles up Brush Creek in Eagle, Colorado.

The mayor is Bobby Ahrens. He’s probably the sheriff, too.

For 20 years now, Ahrens, who is the longtime manager of Adam’s Rib Ranch, has been building a miniature Christmas village, one tiny building at a time. What started out as a single ceramic house has evolved into a little Christmas city that now fills Ahren’s livingroom.

He now has 70 little buildings laid out on a 16-foot long plywood board that rests on the dining room table. Every building is unique.

There’s some organization to this little Christmas town. Matchbox-sized cars cruise the boulevards. The commercial district includes a couple of big box stores (Home Depot and Wal-Mart) as well as some mom-and-pop stores, like the tackle and bait shop or the sweets shop.

There’s three churches, a coffee house, and even a football stadium, where it appears the Denver Broncos are playing.

The village also has itty-bitty inhabitants. Little sledders and woodsmen roam the forest on the south edge of town. Tiny people stroll through the streets. There’s little chickens, pigs and cows outside the dairy. At least one group of lucky kids in this village have a tree house.

Ahrens, a bachelor, has been in the ranch business for 40 years. Originally from Arkansas, he has worked locally for ranches in Burns and on Brush Creek. He normally is occupied tinkering with farm machinery, managing the ranch properties and running cattle. So how did he end up as the owner of a massive little Christmas village?

“It’s just the kid in me,” says Ahrens, a man of few words.

He usually starts setting up the village well before Thanksgiving, and leaves it up through January. It takes him a day and a half to arrange the little houses, and thread the electrical cords through the plywood base so they are hidden.

The hardest part of the whole deal is packing the boxes up and down stairs.

He likes to show off the village for visitors, many of whom are brought in by his neighbor, Lee Caretto of Schoolhouse Ranch. She’s a fan of the Christmas village, and of Ahrens.

“Bobby is one of those guys who is always there to lend a hand, whether it be shoveling snow or getting somebody out of a ditch,” she says.

She sometimes brings the groups of children who visit her ranch down to see the village. They can spend a long time looking at the many details.

“They just can’t get enough of it,” she says.

Ahrens has added some whimsical touches to the village specifically to keep those little visitors looking for new details. A tiny, pink-haired troll doll (popular in the 1970s) dangles daringly from the roof of one house. And there’s a couple of hippopotamuses razing on top of the art museum. Some ceramic dogs and cats also roam the village in unexpected places.

In addition to the Christmas village, Ahrens has been steadily building up an outdoor Christmas light display. He’s definitely a collector. His house is stuffed with collections, varied from little ceramic shoes to full-sized antique stoves.

He welcomes visitors to stop by his house at the Adam’s Rib Ranch headquarters any time to view the Christmas village. To arrange a visit, call Lee Caretto at 328-5452.

Support Local Journalism