On November 15, 2003, the Arctic 56 club unveiled its brand-new
display cabinet and village layout for the children and staff of Providence Hospital.
The culmination of a year's worth of effort from many club members with the support of friends
was finally realized. This year's display builds on the creative talents & efforts of past
designs and pulls in some fresh new ideas.
The design effort began months ago when Arctic 56 enlisted the help of Valerie Rizzo, fellow club-member
and owner of Kitchens by Rizzo. Valerie proposed building
a customized cabinet to improve the overall look and allow greater security of the display. With input
from fellow members, Valerie and Sean embarked on designing the new cabinet to meet the clubs needs.
The cabinet's utlimate design can be broken down into five main components: two base cabinets on lockable
wheels, flat base platform (for the display), upper shell with plexi-glass windows & backdrop and
the large 1/4 inch plexi-glass front window. The cabinet is designed breakdown easily and quickly for
storage and portability. A couple of the new design features include 8 pushable buttons
to allow for children to interact with the village display. Several of Department 56's village
accessories and buildings offer the chance to allow children to play with the display. Also new
for this year is a fiber optic background display that simulates the starry night. In addition,
the cabinet bases now provide a large storage area for lit pieces and display materials when they are not being used and
provides for additional security. All of the new elements come together with a bigger display area which provides
easier access and display building capability.
This year's setup day was especially exciting. When club members assembled at Sean Monico's house the
morning of the setup day, club members quickly learned of the generous donations that were given to the
club during the week. On the previous day, Melinda Seegers from Department 56's public relations,
had sent UPS overnight five large boxes containing a number of items for the display. Animated accessories
and buildings including the Glacier Pavilion, Wind-up Toys, Polar Power Company and Reindeer Rides incorporated
into the display. Additionally, Department 56 donated sisal trees, accessories, snow and other
animated pieces that the club can can use in future displays. The sight of seeing
the five large boxes on the setup day was thrilling for all and only sparked our enthusiasm and creativity.
As club members gathered around, Sean also wanted to thank Bell's Nursery in Anchorage for their
generous donations to the club this year as well. Charlene from the Cranberry Street store, donated
the Detective Agency animated piece, Reindeer Flight School, bags of snow, trees and other accessories and buildings.
Bell's Nursery has always offered great support for our hospital displays and this year was no
exception. Additionally, Rosemary also received an initial donation of a lit accessory piece from A & H Hallmark
store in the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall. The club would like offer our thanks to Pam Laret.
At this point club members gathered the display cabinet and loaded it into the trucks provided by Valerie and
Rosemary. After all of the display materials were loaded, the club headed off into the first really cold
day of the winter toward Providence Hospital to begin setup. Transporting the new cabinet and display
materials went exceptionally well despite the first snowfall earlier in the week and the subzero temperatures!
The club has been building this display for six years and the team effort that was demonstrated rang through
loud and clear. Everyone pulled together to keep the effort organized. All of the components of the cabinet
were brought into the hospital with minimal effort and the club set to task of putting it all together. First,
the cabinet bases were bolted together. Next the platform was attached to the top of the bases while Shannon, Peg, Dale-Ann,
Shirley begin the task of unpacking all of the display pieces and materials. It has become a tradition that either
Sean or Whiz have their photo taken under the hood....and this year was no exception! Next, the display wiring was completed, and
then the styrofoam followed by the houses. Once everyone agreed to the design, the new buttons had to be tested.
Next, the accessories and trees were carefully placed before the shell of the cabinet was placed over the top and bolted.
Valerie's son, Andrew also lended a hand with trees and providing his expert advice on the use of Legos for the tunnels. Finally,
the fiber optics were wired and....for the moment all member's hands were involved with ensuring that the display held
together! Once all the pieces were glued and the cabinet shell was bolted tight, club members began placing the snow. As
usual, Rosemary and Sean fought over the bag! Finally the plexi-glass window was placed and the display was complete!
Everyone who attended the setup really felt proud at the final result. The buttons on the cabinet were thoroughly tested a second time
and it was exciting to see the animated accessories come to life! The club posed for a few photos and then let the first child at
Providence have the honors enjoying the display for the first time! The club built the display in approximately 6 hours and
felt good knowing that all the year's effort and that day's setup time will be thoroughly enjoyed by the children and staff
at Providence Hospital.