Expansive Christmas village personalized for Beaufort, firefighter's family

emoody@beaufortgazette.comDecember 24, 2013 

In the Mossy Oaks home of a Beaufort Fire Department captain and his wife, a tiny, whimsical version of Beaufort is ready for Christmas.

Sparkling snow -- definitely a fantasy version of Beaufort -- blankets the roads. The Christmas parade, with a band and prancing dogs, marches down main street, under the sign Kelly Robinson made for her little village, "Robinsonville, Est. 1994."

"That's when we got married," she explained.

"Tiny" and "little" are relative terms when it comes to Robinsonville. Although the buildings and people are diminutive, more than 50 and 100, respectively, cover about 50 square feet of specially made tables.

Robinson and her family spent about a week setting up this year, placing buildings, tracing them on the tables, drilling holes for cords and placing and moving pieces countless times.

She laughed that her husband, Scott, isn't allowed to see the dozens of cords plugged in underneath the table's white skirting.

But he is a firefighter, and he resist peeking.

"It's an electrical-engineering feat," he declared. "But of course, no fire hazard."

It's the details that tie together the village, which has been collected a few pieces a year for almost two decades.

"We'll buy something new, especially if it's something that represents our life or our town," Scott Robinson said.

Kelly Robinson found a "Robinson Stables," which now sits next to the family home, with her mother hanging laundry and Scott Robinson chopping wood in the front yard. On the roof of the house flies three flags -- one for Scott Robinson's native state of Alabama, one for Kelly Robinson's native state of Hawaii and one with the adopted family crest.

Down the road is Eckerds Drugstore, which the Robinsons bought at the store in Beaufort, before it became Rite Aid.

The fire department has a tailor-made sign -- "Beaufort City FD" -- as does the "Robinsonville's Annual Christmas Festival," complete with a moving tilt-a-whirl, spinning swings and twirling teacups. The drive-in theater is next door.

Every piece has a story, most related to the Robinsons or Beaufort.

"It's hard to say what some of my favorite things are," Kelly Robinson said. She pointed to a tiny hot tub. "Our neighbors Steve and Donna, they have this inflatable pool they leave up all year, and Jan. 1 we are doing the pelican plunge in it," she said.

Her husband is a little more specific about his favorite part.

"It's probably the horse-drawn fire carriage because it's the Norman Rockwell-esque kind of Christmas we never get in Beaufort," he said.

Video: A very merry Christmas village (:33)

Kelly Robinson of Beaufort started collecting buildings and figures for her Christmas village 16 years ago. She has displayed her Christmas village every year since then and has collected more than 50 buildings. This video was shot Dec. 24, 2013, by Delayna Earley.

Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.

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