Sask. farm lights up for the holidays

The most popular feature is a working electronic and mechanical candy cane machine, which the family built from scratch 

ELFROS, SASK. — For 26 years, Gary Folster, wife Heather and son Quenton have brought Christmas merriment to hundreds of people visiting their Christmas light display at their home in Elfros.

Visitors from all across Western Canada and even England have signed their guest book and made donations in their gift box for the Wadena Food Bank.

“We spend most of the year dreaming up new designs for our outdoor decorations,” said Gary. “Our motto is ‘if we can think of it, we can build it’. Sometimes we get the idea in the middle of the night. We usually start putting things out in late October and have it ready for the Christmas season.”

Quenton is the show’s electronics and computer genius. He designs the circuitry and develops the computer programs to operate the light and sound show.

Brad Taylor and daughter Emma from Foam Lake, Sask., look at Santa’s scroll made from an old wringer washing machine. | Duane McCartney photo

The most popular feature of the show is a working electronic and mechanical candy cane machine, which the Folsters’ designed and built from scratch. Quenton got all the motors and moving parts working in unison so children can push the big red button and watch their candy cane being made.

“We have a moving scroll or Santa’s List, as we call it, made from an old wringer-washing machine,” said Gary. “It has a rotating canvas that is powered by the washing machine motor and the canvas is kept aligned with the wringers from the machine.

“As it scrolls, the kids can look for their names. When the scroll was first made, we used names of kids that went to the Elfros school. It now has three generations of names on it and continues to grow.”

Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus welcome visitors to the Folster’s Forest Farm. | Duane McCartney photo

Gary built many of his creations out of recycled materials. The gateway is made from an old tent frame, coffee cans and florescent tubes. The train engine is made from recycled wood, two small barrels and a couple of coffee cans and has a fog machine to make the effect of steam come out the smoke stack. The reindeer are made from recycled wood flooring from an old house.

All of these recycled materials make a great contribution to the Christmas light tour at Folster’s Forest Farm in Elfros.

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