Someone is sneaking into the Schellville Christmas Village, and cutting and unplugging wires and lights.
“We worked hard to create a magical free village for our community. A great deal of time, energy, and community effort went into creating this,” wrote Alyssa Titus, Schell Brothers director of marketing, in a Facebook post over the weekend. “You are making extra work for us daily, but we are committed to keeping our village bright and fun. You will not deter our mission of happiness.”
She said Delaware State Police have been notified, and two police officers have been patrolling the more than 6 acres of grounds nightly since the event started on Nov. 20. In addition, cameras have been added around the village.
Titus said the entire site is fenced in and the entryway is locked each night.
Titus said members of the Schellville team start every morning repairing cut wires. “It's a lot of work. We have to trace down the place where wires are cut, pull out the strand and then replace it. We've been doing this since the beginning,” she said. “It's not what we should be doing each day.”
On Dec. 6, most of the village was without lights. “We found three cut wires,” she said.
Schellville started with a village of miniature houses and buildings in 2016 as part of Winter Wonderfest. It grew in size until it became an event of its own this year in a new location behind Tanger Outlets Seaside off Route 1 north of Rehoboth Beach.
Titus said more than 5,000 people went through the Schellville gate each night this past weekend.
The Christmas festival is open 5 to 9 p.m., Thursday to Sunday and every night between Sunday and Friday, Dec. 26 and 31. It will be closed Dec. 24 and 25.
The attraction, sponsored by builder/developer Schell Brothers, features a roller-skating rink with a loop where skaters can roll under a tunnel of lights, and an expanded cobblestone Enchanted Christmas Village with 18 miniature houses, including a new pet hospital and airplane hangar. Santa and Mrs. Claus are on hand each night of the festival for visits with children.
Schellville has an expanded outdoor lounge area with fire pits, 16 snow machines providing snow for 15 minutes every hour, and two trains passing through a tunnel of lights with views of holiday characters, Christmas decorations and trees. Other features include an artisans’ market, food trucks, a hospitality tent, live music, a snow zone for safe snowball fights, a Christmas tree maze and a beer garden.
Visitors with reservations have priority for entry. For more information, go to schellbrothers.com.