Last call for tours of Qualls' winter wonderland

By Marlys Good

It was 1976 when Barbara Qualls, who was living in California, put together her initial “Winter  Wonderland” display. It wasn’t big or elaborate, featuring just three houses, but year by year it found new life as Quall added something new, something different.

When Qualls moved to Greybull she brought the wonderland with her, and each year opened her doors to the community to share the beautiful, diverse display that she painstakingly puts together each year.

Barb said 2020 will be her last year of assembling the display that includes literally hundreds of figures, nativity scenes, churches (each lighted church has a small nativity scene in front of it), cathedrals, trees, skaters, carolers, fishing village, old-time farm, livery stable, lamp posts, shepherd’s house, rustic crèche, polar bears and nuns handing out presents. 

You’ll be amazed at what you spot tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the huge  display.

The main village is 16 feet long, 8 wide; the tallest point is 81 inches high. This year she used the entire breakfast bar, which is 6 feet long.

Lights shine in the churches and houses. Qualls has motorized parts of the display so you’ll see the skaters actually gliding over the pond and doors opening when carolers stop by, and hear the water “whooshing” at the fishing village. To pull it all together, Christmas carols play softly in the background.

Qualls has added a tree farm, a town center with lights, music, a second water fountain. It takes hours and hours, weeks and weeks, to put it all together.

 Every year she has opened her home for viewers to stop by and enjoy the fruits of her labor.

When first interviewed a decade ago, Barb said the display “is my gift to God; He inspires me; I couldn’t do it without Him and my enjoyment is the people coming to visit and see it.”

If you haven’t seen the display, be sure and stop by Dec. 1 through Dec. 30, from 6-9 p.m. every night at 340 Fifth Avenue South. Plan to take your time perusing the giant display. It will fill you with the spirit of the season.

The community has been blessed with Barb’s devotion to the intricate, dazzling display and her willingness to share it.

Why did Barb decide to end her almost lifelong fascination and love for putting together the elaborate display?

She cited three reasons; among them she said now that she’s 76 years old, she finds she is needing more and more help each year to put everything together.

In addition, Barb said she wants to get her living room back. “I have a Bible study on Thursday nights and I need more room for my ladies.”