Nisja Bear House open in Chichester Estates

Roy Nisja stands in the far corner of the main display at his home in Chichester Estates.

Roy Nisja stands in the far corner of the main display at his home in Chichester Estates.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be spending Christmas Eve at Roy Nisja’s Bear House in the Gardnerville neighborhood of Chichester Estates.

Nisja said the first couple of Christmas will arrive around 6 p.m. Sunday and will be out greeting visitors to the display.

“There were here last year, and it was so much fun to watch the back door open and the kids jump out to meet Santa,” he said.

This is the fifth year the Bear House has been open at 1366 Chichester Drive.

Nisja loves for people to get out and explore the display that includes several trains, a big display and a bubble blowing bear.

On Wednesday, the 89-year-old Marine Corps veteran conducted a tour of the exhibit for The Record-Courier.

He credits son Donn with kicking off the display more than 40 years ago when he started with a plywood snowman and then a bubble blowing bear.

“Forty-one years ago, he started putting stuff out,” Nisja said. “I was reading the newspaper and Donn came in with this bear, and I said, ‘What are you doing with another bear? We’ve got hundreds of bears,’ and he said, ‘I’m going to make it blow bubbles, dad.’”

Forty-eight hours later, the bear was blowing bubbles, though it’s first iteration

The bubble-blowing bear isn’t the original.

“We’ve been through a couple because they get soggy,” he said as the bubbles pile up in front of the bear next to his front stoop. “We did fence it because the little kids want to pop the bubbles.”

The Gardnerville property isn’t large enough for the entire display, Nisja said. For his last year in California, Nisja had six G-scale trains and more than 300 feet of track.

The display will be open 6-9 p.m. through New Year's Eve.


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