Turn your Hallmark holiday dreams into reality with a visit to Inspiration Acres

Inspired by the farm-based stories that grace Hallmark during the holiday season, sisters Kara and Krista invite you to enjoy the endearing version of “farm life” during the holiday season. The market features local vendors, evergreen decor items, and activities including a kid’s craft corner, a coloring contest, a traditions wall, hot cocoa and popcorn stand, a Christmas movie area, photo opportunities and more. Inspiration Acres provides a place where people can create memories, feel inspired to celebrate the joy of the season and help others in need

Turn your Hallmark holiday dreams into reality with a visit to Inspiration Acres – featuring locally grown Christmas Trees, handmade wreaths, evergreen arrangements and over 30 vendors in the gift market, located in the heart of Slinger, Wisconsin.  They planted over 2,000 trees last year which is the first trees they have planted, they’ll be ready in about 7 to 8 years!

Since they have started they have donated over $5,000 to local charities. This year they are picking a different charity each weekend to feature and donate to. Also new this year they added classes to make porch pots and gnomes along with more kid’s activities and photo opportunities.

Background: Millions adore the farm-based Christmas stories shown on the Hallmark channel, depicting a serene, pastoral vision of farm life during the holidays. This inspired sisters Kara Kasten-Olson and Krista Peterson from Richfield, Wisconsin, to create “Inspiration Acres,” a pop-up Christmas tree lot and gift market.

photo provided by Kara, Inspiration Acres

Origins: The sisters grew up on a 65-acre family farm, raising Brown Swiss cows and participating in 4-H. They both pursued agricultural degrees, with Kasten-Olson working at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Peterson in sales and distribution outside the agricultural industry.

Journey: After stopping dairy production in 2001 due to an accident and losing their father in 2015, the sisters considered various ventures to keep the farm alive. Inspired by their love for Hallmark Christmas movies, they often thought about starting a Christmas tree farm. This idea was put on hold in 2018 when their mother was diagnosed with cancer, who sadly passed away in 2019. Motivated by their grief, they decided to research starting a tree farm but faced challenges in updating the farm.

Inspiration Acres: By 2020, the idea was revived, leading to the creation of a pop-up gift market and tree lot in a local shopping center. The name “Inspiration Acres” was chosen in honor of their mother’s inspiring influence. The pop-up site, located in Slinger, Wisconsin, offers a variety of products from local vendors, such as homemade decorations, ornaments, food items, and more. The sisters also partner with a local tree grower, planning to expand their hands-on experience with tree farming.

photo provided by Kara, Inspiration Acres

Challenges: Launching the venture amidst the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic presented uncertainties. Additionally, both sisters have full-time jobs and young families, making balancing priorities difficult. Their ultimate challenge is transforming their family dairy farm into a public Christmas wonderland but it has only gotten better!

Community and Vision: Primarily marketing through social media and word-of-mouth, they aim to support local artisans, provide memorable experiences for visitors, and donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.

The sisters’ ultimate goal is transitioning from the pop-up market to a full “on-farm” Christmas experience, honoring their parents and establishing a legacy for their children.

How can you find + visit Inspiration Acres? 

319 E Washington Street, Slinger, WI
November + December (various weekends) check ahead of time
Fridays and Saturdays / 9am-7 pm, Sundays 9-4 pm

We love you, Lake Country!

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