RICHVILLE -- Starting Thanksgiving week going until just days before Christmas, the Cupkie Christmas Village in Richville has been a place for families to find Christmas trees since 1999.
"Our goal is not to just sell you a tree," said Todd Cupkie, CEO of Cupkie Christmas Village, "but to sell you a tradition."
For some families, tradition is going out to cut their own Christmas tree; for others, it is picking out one of the pre-cut trees on the lot. Either way, Cupkie Christmas Village is there to help keep those traditions alive in an enjoyable way for the whole family.
For the Rick and Lanell Hamman family of Barnesville, cutting down their own Christmas tree has been the tradition for the past 25 years. The Hammans have loved coming to the Cupkie Christmas Village for the past few years.
With a map of the farm and saws in hand, the Hamman family set out to find their Christmas tree. Picking out a spruce, the family cut the tree by hand before taking it to be shaken down and bailed by the employees of the Christmas Village.
Cupkie can be seen on weekends handing out maps as he greets and waves goodbye to the customers. Weekend activities include a petting zoo, pony and trolley rides, tiny sledding hill and a visit from Santa. After selecting a tree customers are invited to head into the gift shop for free cider and samples of the dips sold inside.
All of these extra things build the Christmas tree tradition.
Customers can buy a wristband to participate in the activities, but that only covers a fraction of the cost of the activities, Cupkie said. It's worth the expense, he said, to see customers having an enjoyable experience and making memories.
"When you see the little kids running around, riding the ponies. It's just a good feeling," Cupkie said.
While the Christmas Village is not open for customers until the end of November, the season for the workers starts in August when they tag 3,004 trees to be cut down in November and December. At the beginning of November, they start cutting down 900 trees, to be sold as pre-cuts or to be wholesale orders for tree lots. They also start making wreaths and garland, making sure that little of the greenery goes to waste as they get everything ready for the opening week of the season.
- What: Cupkie Christmas Village
- Where: 43550 County Highway 14, Richville, between Ottertail and Perham.
- Phone: 218-346-6164
- Website: www.christmastreevillage.com