Fenner Road Holiday Trail is a creative low-key delight

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– Nighttime photos by Patti Winsemius / Daytime photos by Cynthia Price

By Cynthia Price

A wonderful, family-run Christmas experience is the result of a grandchild’s fascination with a different holiday.

A chance remark by the granddaughter of Dick and Patti Winsemius plus a Halloween drawing tacked to a tree led to the family at 4310 Fenner Road starting a spooky – though not too spooky – trail in the deep woods behind their house. As they expanded the guest list from just their children and grandchildren (there are now 12) to include other friends and family, Patti  began thinking that Christmas and New Years might be celebrated back there too. The Fenner Road Holiday Trail was born.

“If my granddaughter – her name is A.J. by the way, and she’ll be 9 on Christmas Day – hadn’t said ‘Let’s decorate your woods and have a party,’ we would probably never have thought of it,” says Winsemius.

The trail, which is best seen at night, is a labor of love for Patti and husband Dick, who has contributed his engineering skills in setting up electrical boxes to support the long lit-up trail. The subject matter takes a broad, eclectic view of holiday fun – from Toyland to a nativity scene to The Grinch.

“It’s really creative. People have found out and have been brining over their old Christmas stuff, but I try to make things too,” says Patti, who is an instructor at Cassell Training Center dance studio “I enjoy it – it’s a lot of work but I think it’s relaxing for me.”

The couple estimates that about 250 people go through each year, but that has been down a little this year because of the weather. There is still time, though, because she intends to keep it open until New Years Eve this year.

Run very informally, Holiday Trail visitors can simply park their cars in the area designated and enter at their discretion. There are no tour guides, but Winsemius goes out when she can.

There is a request for donations at the end, but these all go to local families in need, channeled through Laketon Township. “Last year we were able to give $350 to two families. I like that it’s local, staying right here where I live,” Winsemius says.

See more on Facebook under “Fenner Road Holiday Trail.”

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