Scott resident turns miniature village into a dazzling display
By Jeff Widmer
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2012
At Pam Wheat's house on Bower Hill Road in Scott, you will find a fascinating compilation of hills, lights, buildings and miniature figures she affectionately calls “The Village.”
It was hand-built by Wheat in a room that is 14 feet wide and 16 feet long and was built as an addition to the house she grew up in and lives in now. “The Village” contains houses, churches, a hot dog stand, train and so much more.
Each year, Wheat begins building it at the beginning of September. She is usually done by Halloween.
The village is displayed only during the holiday season.
“The Village” resembles the Miniature Railroad & Village that was displayed for years at the Buhl Planetarium. That display was moved to the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh's North Side, where it is now.
Wheat's display takes up her entire dining room during the holiday season. It is placed where the dining room table normally would be.
She estimates that she has spent more than $10,000 on it so far.
For Wheat, 53, a native of Carnegie and the owner of PJ's Deli in Bridgeville, “The Village” is a dream come true.
“I have been working on this since I was in my 20s. I always had a fervent imagination, even when I was a child. I love having my family and friends come over to look at it. I am a very festive person and to me, this is a very big thing,” Wheat said.
Some of the more fascinating features of the display include:
“Christmas in the City,” which includes more than two dozen houses and stores. Here, you will find a bookstore, several churches — including a miniature couple coming out of one church, a diner, pet shop, candy shop and a newsstand.
Also in the “city” is a football stadium that features miniature players — the Steelers vs. the New York Jets.
”The Village” also features a golf course, called the “Linden Hills Golf Course.”
“I love to golf, and I golf at Lindenwood Golf Course in Canonsburg. I named it somewhat after that,” Wheat said. The course includes 15 miniature golfers; one of them is a “motorized putter” who strikes his putts just about every time.
A carnival includes a moving roller coaster and Ferris wheel and a roller rink, with miniature skaters.
For good measure, Santa Claus flies from a moving parachute over “The Village.”
The display is more fascinating when the sun goes down and at night, when the lights in the buildings are turned on.
Wheat can remember putting her thoughts into place for what is now “The Village” when she was a young child.
“When I was a child, I would drive my mother crazy,” she said. “I had a fascination with miniatures, in terms of people and houses. I was just always thinking, ‘How can I do this, how can I do that?'”
Pam's mother, Joan Wheat, agreed that her daughter was “always on a mission.”
“She is always thinking of what she can do next. That's the thing about her. Her mind never stops,” Joan Wheat said.
Wheat is proud that a video of her display can be found on YouTube at PammyJ100's channel. There, four videos can be seen.
Wheat always had a fascination with cooking, also. That is why P&J's Catering is now in its 35th “season,” as she calls it.
“I call it that because in our business, you go from lent, to graduation, to wedding to Christmas,” she said.
She also is proud that, for more than a decade, her village has remained intact.
“People remain fascinated. I think adults are even more mesmerized with it than children. It takes them back, I think, to when they were children.”
Jeff Widmer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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