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On a chilly November Sunday, geese wheeled above Flatlands Avenue, near 93rd Street.
The pirouetting birds circled in the frosty air that felt more like a January freeze than the week before Thanksgiving.
But, a sure sign that Thanksgiving was coming could be seen closer to earth. At the house owned by the Seddio family, a crew of workers was engaged in building Brooklyn’s bridge to the North Pole, an elaborate holiday display that wows children and adults alike, drawing viewers from around the borough, across the city and even farther afield.
With two weeks to go before the display’s official opening, on Sunday, December 7th at 5 p.m., much work remained to be done.
But, the Winter Wizard was already ensconced in the front window on Flatlands Avenue, welcoming visitors and reciting “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Nearby, figurines clustered around a lit menorah and another group, garbed in Kente cloth, gathered near the Kwanzaa candles.
Around the corner, there was a frenzy of activity inside the display windows as the holiday figures were already in motion — a fact not unperceived by a group of children walking by who turned to watch before being hurried along by their mother.
Eventually, when the dramatic display is up and running, it will spectacularly showcase nearly 200 animated dolls and about 200,000 lights.
Numerous scenes, including such instant charmers as winsome bears, a family of penguins and a bevy of Disney characters, will beguile the imagination, bringing out the child in everyone, as does Stumpy, the lovable talking Christmas tree.
A 10-foot-high Ferris wheel that was new last year will be moved to a prominent position in the elaborate display, said Frank Seddio, who gave a tour of the work in progress.
New this year is a life-size Nativity scene that will occupy the home’s garage. The six-foot-tall figures that make up the Nativity scene came from Italy, Seddio told this paper.
The exact set-up had yet to be determined at press time, but Seddio said that under consideration was, “A Christmas tree type scenario around them. We are actually going to build the manger because the figures are such a large size that sets are not pre-built.”
The holiday house was about 75 percent complete, said Seddio, two weeks before opening day, thanks to the efforts of “about 20 people,” family and friends who spend their weekends stringing lights, hauling figures and putting together the enormous display pieces such as the hot air balloon and carousel.
For them as well as Seddio, who carries on the tradition begun in 1963 by Frank Guarino, the effort is, quite simply, “A labor of love.”
It’s all a build-up for opening night, which draws thousands of people, who brave cold weather to be part of a Canarsie tradition.
Among the highlights of this year’s festivities — which will honor lifelong Canarsien O. James Haver -- are the opportunity to meet Santa and his elves, as well as a host of costumed characters.
There will be musical performances by the chorus of Public School 115, the Holy Family choir, and “Dem Stars” steel band.
The display will remain lit until January 6, 2008.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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