It took three trailer loads to haul the boxes of electric Santas, angels, candy canes and snowflakes from the well-known Beacon Bay “Christmas house” to their new countryside home at Maren Oppieplaas in Thornpark, which has become East London’s new festive family destination.
For seven years philanthropist Di Grassi decked out her Pinewood Street home in all manner of flashing, glowing Christmas decoration, attracting scores of families to her home in the evenings to view the magical wonderland she created.
“But now my home is on the market and so I decided to donate all my lights to Renier and Martin Bekker of Maren Oppieplaas,” said Grassi, who has used donations from visitors to buy groceries and Christmas treats for several old age homes every year.
A month ago she donated all the lights, which filled her shed, garage and top cupboards and are worth about R50000, to the Bekkers, who are also very charity-driven and will be funnelling all proceeds into Grassi’s fund to help the elderly at the DJ Sobey, Langham House and Silver Crown old age homes.
And, in addition to the Santa sleighs, giant garlands and snowmen from Grassi’s house, the Bekkers have added metres of rope lights, a walk-in nativity scene to their display, which is open for viewing every evening.
There is also a farmyard with animals and a playpark for children at the farm, which the Bekkers share with their children Abigail, 17, Chelinda, 15, and Marc-Juan, five.
Bekker said visitors are welcome between 7.30pm and 9.30pm during the week and on Fridays from 3pm until 10pm. “Families bring blankets and cooler boxes and we also have a café which makes toasted sandwiches and cappuccinos. All donations go to the senior citizens.”
On Saturday, December 23, Maren Oppieplaas will host a farm Christmas market from 12noon until 10pm with an appearance by Santa between 5pm and 6pm, and visitors can bring picnic baskets.
l To visit Maren Oppieplaas, take the N6 Stutterheim Road 10km from Beacon Bay and turn right at the green Christmas tyre tree and follow the signs. — firstname.lastname@example.org