It’s known simply as the white deer house.
Those who’ve stumbled upon it likely have returned, and hundreds of people make it their destination every Christmas season.
The Eriksen’s house along Bull Valley Road in Bull Valley has been enchanting passersby for more than a decade.
It contains 92 white-lighted deer of all sizes in the woods, the pasture, the trees, alongside the creek, leaping over the nearby bridge and even bounding off the barn roof.
“It’s a show-stopper, really,” Ken Eriksen said. “It’s quite spectacular.”
The display first began about 12 years ago when Ken and his wife, Beverly, decided to add to the three deer they’d already placed on display in their front yard. Each was shopping at a separate store and brought home deer.
Every year, they added more.
“It just kept building over time,” Ken said.
The collection includes small and large deer, as well as a permanent sculpture of three deer that Ken lights every year.
He hired someone to create a 17-foot-high, 21-foot-long steel frame and wire mesh deer formed in the shape of a leaping reindeer. Installed on the roof. That deer contains 1,000 lights alone and looks as if it is leaping off the roof.
It is joined by three smaller deer. Deer also are jumping over Bull Valley Road. And Rudolph, his spouse and their 12 baby reindeer decorate the front entrance.
Yet the deer that get the most attention are two isolated deer out in the field.
“It’s very peaceful, very serene, very heavenly,” Ken said. “I can’t think of enough words to describe it. It’s just really captures your attention, and it captures your heart.”
The couple gets about a dozen letters a year from people who’ve seen the display, as well as six or eight boxes of cookies left by passersby.
One letter described how the scene reminded a passerby of her sister, who had died of cancer earlier that year.
“She just saw it and parked on the side of the road,” Ken said. “It’s so magical. It’s peaceful, silent and serene. It’s just stoic. You just sit there and look.”
He’s not sure why the family has chosen deer through the years, but he said he can’t imagine not putting up the display, despite it costing an extra $700 to $900 in electricity every season.
He changes the scene slightly every year, though fans have come to expect its highlights, such as the deer jumping over the road.
On Christmas Eve last year, the display drew so many spectators both driving by and pulling off the road that police officers had to direct traffic, Ken said.
It takes about three weeks to put together and at least three days to take down.
“I can’t tell you a specific reason why the deer and not an angel or Santa Claus,” Ken said.
“It would be a big empty feeling if we didn’t have our deer out there. They’re part of the family.”