What in the World is a Rikes Window?


image By Makenna Baker “It’s Christmas time! Let’s do something different to celebrate the year!” Mom says. ”How about going to see the Rikes Window displays?” answers Dad. “Going to see the what?” ask the children. This is what most of my friends asked when I told them I was going to write about the Riker Windows. I had to go do some research for myself.  Rikes Window displays were created in 1912 in the Kettering Rikes Department Store. The store started an annual Christmas tradition with its elaborate, animitronic displays.  Unfortunately, the Rike’s chain of stores closed in 1972. I got to talk to my friend Emily Von Stuckrad-Smolinski, a technical engineer for the Victoria Theatre Association. She is in charge of installing the preserved displays at the Schuster Center every holiday season. I know what your thinking. “How do they do that without any windows?” Well according to Emily, the president of the VTA wanted to bring them back to life. So the crew built special window boxes put on display in the Wintergarden. Now at Christmas you can go to the Schuster and see all of these displays inside! At first, I was worried that all of the displays were just a bunch of creepy dolls saying ”Merry Christmas !” Boy was I wrong! The displays are fun and bring Christmas traditions and joy to the heart. They have all kinds of scenes such as woodland wild life and children having a snowball fight. And they’re not just for kids. Grown ups love the displays, too. Although complicated to install, Emily says that you have continue to be on alert between shows so that you are able to fix any errors in a display as needed. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to experience the Rikes Window Displays this year. I am going to convince my mom that we need to make a visit one of our annual traditons!

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