The Spirit of Christmas Past, A Dickens Christmas 06 Dec 11

Santa’s Elves have been hard at work transforming Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard Lodge into a Dicken’s era London Street, complete with Urchins, Street Lights, Carolers, Markets, and Shops. Straight from the pages of a Dicken’s novel, you’ll discover the Wood Shop with a woodworker whittling his craft, The Pantry stocked with pre-packaged goods such as spices, MN Syrups, Honey, and Preserves, The Curiosity Shop, Sweet Shop and the street just wouldn’t be complete without the Tiny Tim Shop; a shop with price points of $5 or less. Perfect for kids to shop for parents, grandparents, teachers. The Lodge is scheduled to be open beginning December 10th and will remain open in December with regular hours, Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

As if shopping were not enough, Sponsel’s has added a truly One-Of-A-Kind Christmas Event, The Spirit of Christmas Past, A Dickens Feast. December 10th and December 16th and 17th, a 7 course feast will be served featuring audience interaction with Dicken’s Characters and Carolers, Wagons Rides, and Shopping in the Dicken’s shops. A Dickens Feast begins at 6:30 and tickets are $40 for Adults and $30 for kids 12 and under, with a discount for groups of 8 or more.

The transformation of the lodge for this event has truly been a labor of love, according to Sponsel’s Marketing Representative, Lonnie Vandervorste. ‘So many people have donated their time, talents, and materials to bring this project to life’. For many who grew up in the MN River Valley, Sponsel’s MN Harvest Apple Orchard was a MN destination for apple pickers in the fall under the 35 year vision and hard work of Doc and Mid Sponsel. In 2005, Mid passed away, and son, Topper Sponsel, continued at the helm; but sadly, 3 months later, Topper suddenly passed away. MN Harvest continued to operate through lease agreements by others with short term interests, according to Topper’s sister, Susan Sponsel Kelly, of Rochester. Today. with a local partner, K2 Legacy, the Sponsel Family has stepped in to renovate and restore the operation. Susan writes in the MN Harvest welcome letter, “We are so happy to have you here today. We know we cannot reproduce all the features you have come to expect right away. Rejuvenating the trees and buildings has taken all year…Many devoted friends have worked without pay, and out of pocket to be able to open the gates in time for you this year.”

The same can be said for the Dickens Village creation in the Lodge. Local Designer and Builder, Kevin Breeggemann (Jordan) has graciously donated his time, talents and materials and brought the Dickens era London Street, complete with cobblestone to life. Long hours and hard work have been put in by Kevin’s brother Fred, Antoine Miles, Daniel Atkins, Wayne Atkins, Colleen Glasgow, Jamie Crump, and Lonnie Vandervorste; whom left her warm Texas home and has set up camp at the orchard to see this project come to life and for Sponsel’s MN Harvest Apple Orchard to once again be a MN Family Destination.

Truly a One-Of-A-Kind Christmas Event, The Spirit of Christmas Past, A Dicken’s Feast brought to you by Sponsel’s MN Harvest Apple Orchard. Tickets for the Feast events can be purchased by calling 952.492.2785. The Dicken’s Shops will be open beginning December 10th, Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Santa Claus is expected to make regular visits and even hosting a Breakfast or Afternoon Tea, complete with wagon rides through the orchard and photos. For more information and pricing on all December events, contact Sponsel’s MN Harvest Apple Orchard at 952.492.2785

To view more pictures of the construction of the Dickens Village, check out the Multimedia Gallery on this website.