Driving along Michigan 83 as you head into Frankenmuth, one can’t help but notice the interestingly shaped chapel on the right hand side of the road after you pass Grandpa’s Tiny Farm.
The Silent Night Chapel
The Silent Night Chapel, as it’s called is a replica of the original chapel that stands near Salzburg, Austria. This original chapel is of interest because it was built on the site of St. Nicholas Church where the hymn “Silent Night” was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818. Probably the best known Christmas carol throughout the world, the words to Silent Night was intended to be accompanied by an organ. Unfortunately, the organ was not working so Joseph Mohr, who wrote the song originally as a poem, and Franz Xaver Gruber, who composed a melody to the words, sang the song with a guitar.
Walking along the paved walkway that leads to the front door of the Silent Night Chapel, you’ll see a nativity and plaques that have the words to Silent Night translated in nearly 300 different languages, from German to Braille and many languages I’ve not even familiar with. You’ll also hear the hymn through speakers as you approach. The 56-foot tall chapel maintains the same hours as Bronner’s. While guests are welcome to visit the chapel at no charge, ceremonies are not allowed in the octagonal shaped building. You’ll find that the chapel appropriately shares the parking lot with Bronner’s, the World’s Largest Christmas Store, which is found next door.
The chapel is free to enter.
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
Known as the World’s Largest Christmas Store, to say Bronner’s is overwhelming is an understatement. This is not the stop you want to make if you only have 15 minutes to spend inside. This store, which is the size of 1 ½ football fields, nearly begs you to explore aisle by aisle.
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland got its start from a humble sign shop in 1945. Wally Bronner was asked to create decorations for the local businesses in the community and after his marriage to Irene, they dedicated half of their shop to Christmas decorations. They outgrew three locations before finally purchasing the 45-acre tract of land that Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland stands on today. Wally passed away in 2008, but the Bronner family continues to run the store.
Today, Bronner’s boasts over 350 decorated Christmas trees, over 6,000 types of ornaments and over 500 different nativities. You’ll additional decorations, collectibles and gifts throughout the store. If you’re looking for a specific type of ornament, chances are, you’ll find it at Bronner’s, and if you’re having a hard time finding what you’re looking for, ask one of the many sales associates who are on the floor and they’ll be happy to help you, believe me, I put them to the test both times I’ve been in the store.
The Lights on Christmas Lane
Outside the store in the parking lot is almost as interesting as inside Bronner’s. You’ll find many photo ops waiting for you, from a larger than life waving Santa and huge Christmas ornaments to a life-size Nativity scene that reminds guests of the true reason for Christmas. While Bronner’s is open 361 days of the year, you’ll find the ½-mile long Christmas Lane that is made up of thousands of dazzling lights is open to guest’s throughout the year.
There is no charge to drive through the lights.
Have you been to Frankenmuth? What would you like to do?
Thank you to the Frankenmuth Visitor & Welcome Center for inviting me to visit the area so I could share my experience with you.
Learn more about Frankenmuth in this post (click on the photo):
© 2016, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.