The face behind Christmas Village

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU)- Every year, thousands of people make their way to Irvine Park to get into the Christmas spirit. This year, we're learning more about the face that's behind so many of the annual holiday decorations in Christmas Village.

“I’ve got this brain, it’s like a merry-go-round and I’m always trying to spark an interest.”

You'll most likely see Mary Brunstad around each season, tweaking things here and there, up until the very last day.

“I start in September, as soon as Oktoberfest is over,” she said. “So, I stop tweaking probably December 26th, that's when we go to Iowa to see my granddaughters.”

Mary has been putting the sparkle in the village ever since she started volunteering in 1994.

“My husband was in the Navy for 22 years and we retired back here: his hometown. Then, when my son was in the Navy in 2000, we started down at the band shell with the military display.”

The band shell, turning 19 this year, honors active duty members from the area. Mary says it was her family's time in the military that sparked such an important feeling of being with your family on Christmas, that she continues to try and help others feel the same joy and love through the season.

“If what I’m doing and what the crew is doing down here, if we can help someone else just feel that joy anytime, that's kind of where it’s at right now.”

This year, Mary is putting her hands to work even more this year. She has the new task of decorating the Welcome Center at Irvine Park.

“I want kids to come and press their noses, and the adults can come and do the same thing in the window and look in.”

One tree will be decorated with about 350 ornaments made by students from Southview School, and another one is honoring something that's touched the hearts of the Chippewa Valley.

“We’re going to have a tree, that's not put up yet, so we're going to be working on that and it’s going to be decorated in the colors of the Girl Scout troop.”

A box of donated ornaments was made especially to honor Troop 3055.

“This is real special. This is one of their ornaments that will be personalized. Again these will be given to the troop.”

The tree will be located in the Welcome Center, as Mary continues to create the magic of Christmas throughout the park.

“I always say where else can you can put up as many decorations as you want but you never have to take them down?”

Christmas Village is open through January 1 and runs Monday through Sunday 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.