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  • by Rebecca Fawcett-Smith

‘Do You Bee-lieve?’ Debuts at Old Petrie Town


At this time of year for the past three years, lovers of all things Christmas have flocked to Old Petrie Town to lose themselves in ‘Lollipop Land’, the creation of Original Doll Artist, Chris Boston, and Visual Display Artist, Jule Barten. This year, Chris and Jule are set to ignite imaginations in a brand new setting when they debut their new Magical Christmas Wonderland Exhibition, ‘Do You Bee-lieve?’

“I say to people, imagine the best Christmas window that you’ve ever seen, multiply it tenfold, and then imagine that you’re allowed to step inside that window,” says Jule.

A continuation on last year’s theme ‘Farewell Lollipop Land, the Journey Begins’, ‘Do You Bee-lieve?’ leaves the North Pole behind and transports visitors to a sparkling Christmas Forest filled with twinkling lights, hand-crafted props, creatures both real and mythical and Chris’ amazing hand-sculpted Original Art Dolls.

“It’s a tricky concept to explain to people, but Chris’ characters aren’t like regular dolls,” says Jule. “Even though she’s classified as a doll maker, Chris is basically a sculptor, and her characters are elflike, fairylike, lifelike little people.”

Mythical little people aren’t the only characters Chris crafts, and this year visitors will get to witness her much-loved Dragons, Mr Trufflewafflepuff and Ms Lulu Lovebug, tie the knot in the enchanted forest setting.

“This exhibition is probably the closest to our own hearts that we’ve ever done, because it’s a forest scene,” explains Jule. “Chris is a passionate environmentalist and we both love nature, so we’ve incorporated a little bit of that. The space has a lovely warm feel.”

Transforming Old Petrie Town’s Rum Distillery function room into a magical Christmas wonderland is a true labour of love, with Chris and Jule toiling tirelessly inside, seven days a week, in the two months leading up to opening day.

“It’s impossible for us to quantify how many hours have gone into putting it all together,” says Jule.

“What some people don’t realise is that we change everything every year. We never do the same thing twice.”

To deter inquisitive little hands away from the painstakingly designed visual art display, visitors will discover a range of ‘seek and find’ clue cards throughout the exhibition, with parents encouraged to join their children in seeking out the answers.

“Most of us rush through life and don’t take the time to appreciate the small details,” says Jule. “With the ‘seek and find’ clues, we’re trying to slow everybody down, so that they can appreciate all the work that has gone into the exhibition. Simple things like counting how many bunny rabbits are in a scene, or finding which characters are sleeping, can provide a lovely source of technology-free entertainment.”

‘Do You Bee-lieve?’ also offers unlimited family Christmas photo opportunities, including having your photo taken with the always popular, life-sized resident unicorn, Raffaello.

“Jule and I specifically set up our exhibitions so there are nice scenes for people to photograph themselves in,” explains Chris. “We’ve had quite a few people say to us that the scenes we create are better than those that they see elsewhere, and I guess that’s because we are so unique in what we do.”

DATES 17 Nov 2017 - 21 Jan 2018 TIMES Wednesday-Saturday: 10am-3pm Sunday: 9am-3pm Friday nights: 3pm-8pm (Nov 17 - Dec 22 only) LOCATION Old Petrie Town, 901 Dayboro Road, Whiteside (in the Normanby Rum Distillery function room next door to the Heritage Hotel Cafe) COST Adults: $10 Children: $5 (3-16 years incl.)


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