Ken Berry with his new Sargent Penguin’s Lively Yuletide Band collection. There will also be several new collections on display this holiday season at the Christmas House at 142 Country Club Boulevard. The lights will be turned on this Friday.

Ken Berry with his new Sargent Penguin’s Lively Yuletide Band collection. There will also be several new collections on display this holiday season at the Christmas House at 142 Country Club Boulevard. The lights will be turned on this Friday.

Christmas House lights up Friday

Ken and Julia Berry’s Christmas House on the Country Club Boulevard is changing up in style and donation destination this year.

Ken and Julia Berry’s Christmas House on the Country Club Boulevard is changing up in style and donation destination this year.

With the closing of the 139 Children’s Fundraising Society earlier this year Ken says funds raised by their popular themed Christmas House will be donated to the Central Cariboo Child Development Centre.

He says CDC president Jerry Tickner has assured him that every dollar donated will continue to go to kids, “so that’s a good thing.”

Ken and his wife Julia have been decorating their home at 142 Country Club Blvd. for 26 years, the past 15 as a charitable fundraiser for the 139 Children’s Fundraising Society. For many years the society has been dedicated to helping with the cost of medical travel for families with sick children. But with health problems of their own to deal with, the society managers Greg and Donna Ashley have not been able to continue the work and no one has come forward to take over the society.

Ken and Julia started the penguin theme Christmas decorations with their son Geoff and daughter Kate back in 1999 and the displays have grown steadily more elaborate every year to include penguins sledding, a hockey rink, Santa’s tree house, Santa’s workshop, Penguin Express Train, and more.

Julia was quality control, Geoff helped with the building, and Kate kept the displays looking great, Ken says.

“There are now three generations working on the lights and figure,” Ken says.

When their grandchildren come for Christmas he says they help to assemble the reindeer who pull Santa’s sleigh in the front yard.

Other the past few years, Ken says he has just been working on repairing and repainting the existing figures, but this year he is introducing three new groups of characters.

The new scenes this year will include eight penguins singing and playing in the Sgt. Penguins Lively Yuletide Band.

The figures are based on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album and come complete with the Sgt. Pepper uniforms and drum.

There is also a quartet of singing penguins which he is calling Little Anthony and the Imperials.

There are also three little praying angels who will be making their debut and where originally designed by retired educator, Ken’s former students at Nesika Elementary.

Julia has also been busy repairing the Gingerbread House with the addition of new candies and candy canes.

Julia, who is a Brownie leader, also made a special request to have a little Brownie Penguin complete with badge and sash included in the scenes.

Ken and Julia estimate it takes 150 hours to put up all the lights and scenes for the display spread over two-and-a-half months leading up to Christmas.

“As soon as golfing is over the preparation begins,” Ken says.

In their first year of raising funds for charity back in 1999 the Berry’s Christmas House raised $800. Their goal that year was to raise just $100. Encouraged by that success they continued the tradition and have now raised close to $18,000 over the years. Ken’s goal if to bring the total to $20,000 over the next couple of years.

For the past four years, Ken has also had help with fundraising in the off-season from his golfing friends who bring him their found golf balls to sell for the cause. People can pick up some “experienced golf balls” with a donation of 50 cents per ball at #9 Fairway.

Ken says his neighbours are very understanding and tolerate the line-ups of cars who come to see the displays and some even send out hot chocolate to Ken on the cold snowy days wile he is working.

“Many great things have happened on the sidewalks of the Christmas House, carollers coming singing, wedding proposals are made, and Santa sometimes shows up and people just visit on the sidewalk,” Ken says. “It’s a great tradition to start or maintain and the proceeds all go to a great cause.”

Lights at the Berry’s Christmas House will be turned on this Friday, Nov. 29 and be turned on every night from 5 to 11 p.m. each day until at least Jan. 4.

After Friday, Nov. 29, Ken says new venues will be popping up every other day, even past Christmas Day so regular visits will result in different lighting scenes and colours.

Donations can be placed in the newly re-painted and lighted bird house next to the sidewalk.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake GMHL expansion questions, concerns, to be discussed later this month

If approved, the team would begin play in the fall of 2021

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler comes off a night shift on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Our Hometown: The doctor is in the house

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler was born and raised in Williams Lake

The Williams Lake Trail Riders Arena is slated to have a new roof installed this spring after funding from the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Trail Riders Arena, stable stalls, to get new roof at Stampede Grounds

Some of the stalls currently aren’t able to be rented out due to leaks in the roof

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(File photo)
Kamloops Mountie bitten while arresting woman

The assault on March 1 is the latest in a string of incidents that have left local officers injured

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Most Read