It's Another Penguin Christmas in Harborcreek: The Last Word
It's December and you now can see Christmas decorations everywhere. You see a lot of angels and a lot of Santa Claus. When it comes to animals, reindeer are a favorite. However, I visited a house where there's a different kind of animal on display.
It's the Rick and Jane Hinman residence on Harbor Road in Harborcreek Township. A line of wooden penguins can be seen standing in the yard. It's an amazing sight for anyone who drives by. The tradition of putting up penguins for Christmas began about 30 years ago when the Hinman's subdivision held a decoration contest.
"We got some plywood and I cut them out to represent Jane and I and our four children that we had at the time. She painted them in the penguin colors and we put them out and we won first prize,” remembers Rick.
The penguins were a big hit in the neighborhood. The Hinman’s put the six penguins out every year displaying them in different poses throughout the yard. When one of their daughters got married, it was decided to expand the display and add a penguin to represent their new son-in-law.
"Then the other daughter got married and we stuck one more in and we just kept moving them on down the line until they started covering the whole front yard. Once the grandkids came along then it took a lot of space,” says Jane.
It's the March of the Penguins every Christmastime on the Hinman’s front yard. There's 22 penguins representing Rick and Jane, their four children, their childrens’ spouses, and 12 grandchildren. The line begins with the penguins representing Rick and Jane followed by their oldest daughter, her husband, and their children. They are followed by the three other Hinman children and their families. Each family has its own special scarf for their penguins. Each female penguin is adorned with a poinsettia. A big highlight for the family came last Christmas when all 22 members of the family posed behind their penguin.
"We've been wanting to get a picture like that for years but we didn't usually get all the kids together and the snow all at the same time,” says Jane.
So, will this group of penguins ever expand? Will great-grandchildren be added to the lineup?
"Absolutely,” says Rick. “If they have them we're going to make penguins for them and we'll make room for them out in the yard."
Christmas is not the only time a penguin could be seen in the Hinman’s front yard. Every time a new grandchild was born, Rick and Jane put out a small penguin to alert their neighbors of the good news. One time it was twins!