Community Trash Becomes a Holiday Community Treasure
The Enchanted Naples Snow Village is more than just enchanting. It’s a lesson in recycling, creativity, and creating magic out of the ordinary.
A few years back Tony Gagliardi decided he wanted to do something different for his holiday decorations. Not just lights, not just Christmas Trees, but something truly special. The local, legendary wig maker already had an eye for design … or should we say, making something inanimate look alive. He paired up with his good friend Gary Lee Wolf, a hair stylist and salon owner with experience in transforming a haircut into something extraordinary. And what the two have created is, well - you should just go and see it for yourself.
Tony and Gary wanted a piece of art so special it would stand out in the Long Beach community. The snowy white village they’ve brought to Naples, with its golden rooftops and European design, is especially lit up and sparkly at night. It’s in fact so miraculous, you have to examine the materials up close before you begin to realize it’s not made of store-bought items. But here’s the catch … recycled goods can look great to the viewer…. once they’re recycled. But the reality is, before something is recycled, it’s just junk.
Tony spent a solid 8 months the first few years roaming around alleys where people leave stuff out. Scrounging around trashcans and dumpsters. Keeping an eye on neighbors throwing out old goods. It wasn’t always glamorous stuff. But what was once the community’s trash has become the community’s treasure. After growing into a local wonder in front of Tony’s house in Park Estates for three years, Tony and Gary decided to redesign the layout this year and place it in front of their friend’s house on the canals in Naples, so that it’s visible for an entire community of holiday strollers to enjoy.
The Enchanted Snowy Village is located at the home of Lynn Gesner at 212 Rivo Alto Canal, in the middle of a stretch of Naples homes that traditionally bring home countless awards for their yearly Christmas décor.
Holiday lights enthusiasts strolling the canals will be able to take a small detour, from the sidewalk and through the home’s front porch, to be surrounded by the snowy village on both sides.
And the reason you (and your kids) would want to stroll through, up close, is so that you can see for yourselves how amazing the construction of this work of art is, and where it came from. When you look at it up close, you start to realize that these aren’t just plastic moldings.
The village is created of: Gatorade bottles, martini glasses, BBQ skewers, 5-gallon jugs, toothpicks, GI Joe soldiers, plumbing washers, tree protectors, a radiator clamp, a light fixture, beaded curtains, thumbtacks, push pens, bottle caps, push racks, miscellaneous jewelry, clothespins, wine bottles, Christmas ornaments, ribbon, Styrofoam boxes, toys, tent poles, a shoe rack, scarf hanger, kids’ bow-and-arrow set, tulle fabric, a rubber gasket, and much more!!
I’m telling you … you have to admire this thing up close.
The ever-charitable creators, Tony and Gary, have added another feature this year.
They’ve partnered their Christmas creation with the non-profit Steel Magnolias organization, which helps to raise funds for the Stramski Center at Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital, and with Musical Theatre West, the performing arts center that puts on theatre at the Carpenter Center at Long Beach State. The goal is to raise money for two worthy non-profits among the challenges of this year’s COVID-caused shutdowns.
While the front porch will be open to walk-throughs each weekend and most of the week, the fund-raising branch is taking reservations for those who’d like to bring a picnic into the Enchanted Snow Village to enjoy small-group outdoor dining!
On weekdays in December, for a donation of $100, you and up to three other adventurers can bring food and wine to enjoy a private picnic in the Enchanted Snow Village! All of the money raised will be donated to Steel Magnolias in support of the Stramski Center; and to Musical Theatre West.
If you’d like to support a great cause and see this village privately and up close, call Gary Lee Wolf at 562-209-5099!
If not, still do your best to make it to Naples for a walk by sometime during December and see what a beautiful recycled masterpiece Tony and Gary have created! This year especially, it’s inspiring to be reminded that those who work hard and think creatively can turn trash into treasure, and ordinary things that were once forgotten can be transformed into extraordinary memories.