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A Holiday Tradition in Torrington, Connecticut
Carl Bozenski's Christmas Village in Torrington, Connecticut, has been a holiday tradition since 1947. Located in Litchfield Hills on Church Street in Torrington, this free holiday attraction enchants visitors young and old.
Christmas Village is open from early December through Christmas Eve. Hours are 1:00 to 8:30 p.m. daily, with shorter hours from 9:00 a.m. until noon on Christmas Eve. The event kicks off on the second Sunday in December at 12:30 p.m. with a parade that proceeds from the Armory, along Main Street, up Mason Street to Christmas Village.
When my four-year-old daughter and I visited Christmas Village for the first time, some folks in-the-know told us that the wait would be long, but they assured us it would be worth it. They were right on both counts.Continue to 2 of 14 below.
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Anticipation Builds (i.e. Long Lines)
From outside Christmas Village, it is difficult to tell just what awaits inside. You and your little ones will have plenty of time to speculate, as the lines for Christmas Village are always very long (we waited an hour-and-a-half). Be prepared and pack gloves and a hat if the weather is chilly. (I made the mistake of leaving my daughter's mittens in the car because it was sunny and relatively mild outside.) You might also want to have some fun "standing-in-a-line" games to keep the kids occupied.
Allow about a half hour to tour the village once you're finally inside, so expect this outing to be at least two hours.Continue to 3 of 14 below.
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Inside Christmas Village
The line to get inside Christmas Village moves slowly because only 8 to 10 people at a time are allowed inside. Then, there is an additional wait for the tinsel-decked door to open to reveal...Continue to 4 of 14 below.
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Who Lives Here?
... Santa Claus's house! This fabulously decorated room makes little children's eyes grow big, even before they spot the man in the red suit. This makes it worth the long wait!
Here's a tip, though: if you don't need to see Santa, you don't have to wait in that slow-moving line out front. Simply enter Christmas Village via the side gate, and you can see all of the other free attractions.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
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Once inside Christmas Village, each child gets an intimate reception with Santa Claus—and a free toy! My daughter loved her Beanie Baby rat, and the little boy in line behind us seemed delighted with his fire fighter action figure set.Continue to 6 of 14 below.
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Meeting Mrs. Claus
After our time with Santa Claus, we followed signs to the next stop at Torrington's Christmas Village, where we met Mrs. Claus. Mrs. Claus seemed awfully laid-back and cheerful considering we visited her just five days before Christmas. She told us to be sure to visit the elves and Rudolph while we were at Christmas Village.Continue to 7 of 14 below.
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The Toy Shop
The Toy Shop was our next stop. The outside of this cozy-looking log cabin didn't reveal the vibrant activity going on inside.Continue to 8 of 14 below.
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Elf at Work
The Toy Shop at Christmas Village is so colorful and busy that at first we didn't notice the elf hard at work in the back near the door.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
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My four-year-old was mesmerized by the elves working inside the Toy Shop at Christmas Village. One friendly elf waved to us, but these two seemed very intent on meeting the day's toy quota.Continue to 10 of 14 below.
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Meet the Reindeer
Next, we went to meet the reindeer. There were four live reindeer—including Rudolph—on display at Christmas Village. Warning to parents: You will need to be prepared to explain why Rudolph does not have a red nose. I said it only glows at night, but if you visit at night, you're on your own!Continue to 11 of 14 below.
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My daughter could hardly wait to climb up and sit in Santa's sleigh. There are many terrific photo opportunities at Connecticut's Christmas Village, so be sure to bring your camera.Continue to 12 of 14 below.
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A Bit of History—Since 1947
As this sign reminds visitors, Christmas Village is a long-standing tradition in Torrington, Connecticut. The annual event began in 1947 when Torrington's Parks and Recreation Supervisor Carl Bozenski invited Santa Claus to visit Alvord Playground.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
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From twinkling trees and carolers to this nativity scene, there are plenty of holiday displays to see during your visit to Christmas Village.Continue to 14 of 14 below.
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Can't Wait for Next Year!
Yes, the wait was long, my daughter was impatient, and I wish I'd had my husband along so one of us could have run for hot cocoa. One smart man in line arrived an hour before his kids! But as we were leaving, my daughter asked, "Can we go there again?" So clearly it was worth it.