What started as a visit to Menards to wait out a snowstorm, wandering the aisles and making an impromptu purchase of an inflatable Christmas forest scene has led dairy farmer Sara Bremer down a unique path that combines sharing her family’s dairy farm story and their love for Christmas.
Bremer Farms, located in Hastings, Minn., was established in 1952 and is owned by Sara’s parents, John and Janet Bremer who milk about 125 cows and grow all the feed for their cows on about 260 acres. Siblings Michael and Sara also work part-time on the farm in addition to having their own career off the farm.
The holiday season is always a special time for the Bremer family with Christmas traditions that are filled with a lot of cookie baking and time with family. “We use a lot of butter,” says Janet. “We used to sell cookies, about 700 dozen, using about 25 pounds of butter. Nowadays, we don’t bake quite that many and will give trays of cookies as gifts throughout the holiday season.”
The Bremers have always done Christmas decorating within their home and incorporating a couple strings of Christmas lights outside of the house. It wasn’t until eight years ago, when Sara was forced to stop at that Menards due to the poor weather and road conditions, that she was inspired to make her initial outside Christmas décor purchase. What started out as one inflatable Christmas display led to shopping the Black Friday and day-after-Christmas sales every year for outdoor Christmas decorations, peaking at about 90 inflatable decorations on display for the holiday season. The result: a memorable and festive dairy experience for all ages in the community and the perfect invitation to learn more about the dairy way of life.
Today, Sara’s collection is now at about 30 inflatable decorations as when the displays broke and were deemed irreparable, she replaced them with custom-built and -designed plywood displays. There are a wide variety of holiday themes on display, including life-size scenes from popular Christmas movies such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman to an 8 feet wide by 8 feet tall gingerbread village. “People will use the displays as the setting of the family Christmas card pictures,” reported Sara. “It’s as if they stepped into a scene from their favorite holiday film; they love it.”
To truly make this holiday tradition a community affair, the Bremer family opens their farm and hosts Santa on the Farm, an annual event that requires volunteer support to help with parking and traffic control for the 200+ people who visit during the two-hour timeframe. The Santa on the Farm event includes collecting donations for the local food shelf, visitors watching a video projected on the house showing the cows being milk in the milking parlor, banners displayed on their barn sharing facts about dairy farming and foods, receiving dairy goodies such as a coloring book, insulated lunch bag, milk and cheese curds, and of course, visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
There’s no saying how many visitors check out their extensive holiday display while also getting a taste of dairy farm living during the month of December. Weeknights they estimate between 20-30 cars drive by, the weekends are even busier. On Christmas Eve it’s a constant stream of cars all evening long. To get a taste for their holiday display, you can visit this YouTube video here.
*Photos featured in this article were taken prior to March 2020 before mandatory mask/social distancing mandates were implemented.