Santa returns to St. Pete brewery -- in model form

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At 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Pete, there are always plenty of games and decorations to go along with their craft beer.  And this holiday season, a family favorite is back on display: A 300-piece model train set.

It’s a family tradition for owner Mike Harding that goes back decades.

“We started giving my dad pieces of a Department 56 set called The North Pole.  So everything on this set is from Santa’s North Pole,” he explained.  “The first piece was Mr. and Mrs. Claus’s house.  And that was probably somewhere around the late ‘70s.”

Once Harding was grown, his own kids started doing the same thing for him.  Then, four years ago when the brewery opened, they combined efforts and put the result on display.  It’s been an annual tradition ever since.

“It has been probably the most fun that we’ve had in the brewery throughout the year,” he offered.

Now, the village takes three weeks to put together and includes 321 pieces – everything from the reindeer flying school and the ‘Naughty or Nice’ detective agency to, of course, a ‘micro’-brewery.

Harding says the display is a draw for people of all interests.  He credits the December uptick in business, in part, to the train set.

“We have plenty of people who come here to discover that we have a brewery, but they come here to visit my dad and see the Christmas village that they heard about from a neighbor.”

LINK: For more information, click on over to the 3 Daughters website