The Village Nuts was established in March of 1991. There were no clubs in Ohio at that time and I was so hungry for information about our little houses. I knew that a good friend of mine, Leigh collected also, and I think that she was the one that told me about the different villages and the retirement events! This is when I realized that I had five different villages started. I knew that there had to be more information out there, and the best way to find it was to get to know other people that also collected Department 56. I knew of three vendors selling the Department 56 houses. I had visited all three, asking if I could put information in their stores about starting a collector's club in Columbus. Of the three, only one store permitted me to lay out our flyers. The weekend before our first meeting, I ran a two line ad in the Columbus Dispatch. The ad read; "Dept. 56 meeting, 6:56 PM on Wednesday at The Nut Cracker in German Village". Seven people showed up for that first meeting! The main reason of forming this club was to have fun and give people the opportunity to learn from one another.
We elected a "Lord Mayor", "Scrooge", "Bob Cratchit", "Town Crier", and
"Barrister". The name of the club was easy since we were holding meetings in the
Village, (German Village) and just nuts about our little houses - hence The
The group saw the need for a news paper so we could communicate any new information to all members. Well, the person that got that job was the only member that owned a computer at that time! Our news paper became reality and was named The Town Crier! (news in a nut shell). It was a whopping two pages long!
Our first home tour, held on the first Saturday in December of 1991, was a successful! It was a snowy day, but just enough to set the mood as we traveled the five homes that took part in our first tour! As we progressed between homes, we enjoyed a light breakfast and then on to a heavy lunch. The deserts were the greatest and of course, my favorite!
Not everything was easy during those first days. Attracting new members was hindered by rumors that "you would have to buy your houses from the vendor where our meetings were being held".
Early 1992 we had to move from our meeting place at The Nutcracker as we were growing and finally grew out of our meeting place! The idea of a Department 56 Collector's Club finally caught on over the years I've even had two vendors offer to PAY me to start another club in their stores!