There are a lot of great things about living in Bellville, Ohio, from year ‘round activities to the beautiful hilly scenery. One of the fun things to do is visit KleerView Farm in Bellville, owned by Debbie and Kevin Kleer.
On their beautiful Christmas tree farm, you can select that perfect tree, tag it, and then arrive when you’re ready to get the tree. You can cut it yourself or the Kleers will cut it for you and bag it, ready for the trip to your home to be decorated for Christmas. They also have a tree stand called “The Marriage Saver.”
The Kleers' farm has 225 acres with some in Christmas trees and the rest farmed to feed the 65 Angus brood cows they have on the farm.
They planted the first trees in 1981 when they planted 1,000 trees. They’ve been slowly expanding ever since, each year planting approximately 3,000 trees in the spring to help maintain the production of 17,000 trees on 15 acres of the farm.
The Kleers have between 350 and 400 visitors a year from Ohio, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and those who come back home to Bellville for the holiday and take a tree back. Their trees have gone to 44 communities in Ohio, and to Iraq and Kuwait.
The Christmas trees are only part of the wonder of KleerView Farm. It also includes Santa’s Barnyard Express, the Christmas House located on the property and wagon rides from the main farm to the Christmas House.
The Kleers purchased additional acreage that included a 150-year-old farm house. The property had been owned by six generations of the same family. The Kleers were going to tear the house down and had a local Amish builder examine it. He told them that house was in better shape than the farm house they lived in so the house stayed and was restored. It’s now known as “The Christmas House.”
Debbie decorates 10 rooms in the house, each with a different Christmas tree. This year, the trees will include a John Deere tree, a white snowman Christmas tree and a gingerbread tree.
But the main attraction for families are the three reindeer who call KleerView Farm home: Blitzen, Noel and Belle.
They are all about 1 1/2 years old and have been with Debbie and Kevin for a year. Noel and Belle are expected to have their first calves in 2015.
According to Debbie, reindeer can’t carry the chronic wasting disease that deer carry. Most people think they are wild animals, but they have been domesticated for more than 400 years. The large herds people see in Alaska are actually owned by the University of Alaska. The Kleers can’t have lambs and goats on the farm with the reindeer because they carry a disease. Both male and female reindeer and calves less than 1 year old have antlers. It’s estimated that there are 650 reindeer in the lower 48 states.
When reindeer run or walk fast, their fetlock joints make a clicking noise, hence the clippity clop on the roof top in Clement Moore’s poem, “A Night Before Christmas.”
“When kids ask if they fly, I tell them Santa has a special dust to make them fly,” Debbie says.
Kleerview Farm also has reindeer rentals!
Thanks to Debbie and Kevin, Blitzen, Noel and Belle can bring their magic to any holiday event. They can be rented for displays, Christmas tree lightings, special events, open houses, parades and winter festivals.
When you rent the reindeer, Debbie and Kevin provide two handlers who go with Blitzen, Noel and Belle. This year, they are already scheduled for four parades and a visit to the Lexington Senior Center. The Kleers also had inquiries from a car dealership to use them for a Christmas ad and also an inquiry from a Lexington grocery store.
Santa’s Barnyard Express also houses turkeys Jingle and Kringle and Holly the miniature Donkey who “rules the roost” with horse pal Tuffy.
KleerView Christmas Tree Farm is a five-generation family project: great-grandparents, grandparents, parents and children. It started with Frank Kleer, Kevin’s grandfather, helping to plant the first trees.
Everyone helps including Debbie and Kevin’s parents and grandparents, their children and now their grandchildren. They aren’t just selling trees, they’re helping families begin a tradition.
The Kleers offer wagon rides from KleerView Farm to the Christmas House, traveling through the fields and around two ponds for a picturesque 15-minute ride, and they also display an antique sleigh that is more than 150 years old.
KleerView Farm opens the Friday after Thanksgiving each year. Checkout the website.