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Mini Christmas city goes on display

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Elaine Oftedahl's miniature Christmas village started with just 10 ceramic houses.

She'd expand her village a little every year, and now complete with a ski slope, airport, ocean, farm, racecar track and about every kind of shop you can imagine, it has outgrown her home.

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"I like to collect things," she said. "It just gets out of hand."

Oftedahl is opening up the collection to the public on weekends at the big shop at Raceway to Fun.

She grew the collection over 30 years and said she has probably put tens of thousands of dollars into the pieces and scenery. The collection contains about 200 buildings.

"The only place I've seen that had more than this is Department 56," the store, she said.

The collection would probably be larger if not for a house fire about five years ago that wiped out a third of it, she said.

Since early October, Oftedahl's been working daily on the display, with the help of her daughter Denill Kasten of Newport.

It's the first time she has put up the set in three years, she said. She's planning to sell the entire collection, she said.

"I'm getting too old," she said, "and I'm running out of places to put it up."

If you go, Oftedahl's Christmas display is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 8 p.m. through Jan. 3 at Raceway to Fun, at 910 Hastings Ave. in Newport. It will be closed Dec.19 and Christmas Day. The display is in the shop behind the go-kart track. Santa will be there from 3 to 7 p.m., and photos with Santa cost $5. Snacks, hot chocolate and coffee will be served. For directions go to www.racewayproductions.- com.

-- Patricia Drey Busse

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