Frankenmuth rebounds after vandalism and challenges

It's normally the highlight of the year for Frankenmuth. Instead, it was one of its lowest points.

Christmas Day brought sorrow for Michigan's Little Bavaria when vandals destroyed Christmas decorations at Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. But just like in the past, challenges are making it stronger.

vandals couldn't crush the spirit of Bronner's on Christmas Day, nor the joy of the Frankenmuth community.

It became national news when people found out vandals attacked the world's largest Christmas store.

"We even had people send us cash donations, which I returned and advised them I'd rather like them to consider giving it to their church or Salvation Army," says Wayne Bronner, president and CEO of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland.

The public rejoiced when police made arrests.

Bronner says, "When police told me they apprehended the culprits who were responsible for this, I made an announcement over the public address system here in the store and there was a round of applause that went up from our customers. That shows how they feel. They don't want Christmas messed with."

The other recent controversy was in 2008. It was a cross controversy, the Lutheran Cross that was displayed on the city shield. A man challenged that, saying that conflicted with separation of church and state. However, in reaction to it, many Frankenmuth residents put crosses in their yards, and they're still here today."

Frankenmuth resident Dori Schmitzer has a cross in her yard. She says, "I was very happy to be able to do that, to show people we are a Christian community."

Residents NBC25 spoke with say the community's strong faith and firm belief system get deeper when challenged.

Frankenmuth resident Harry Boesnecker says, "Our heritage goes back to church. We were founded in 1845, when fifteen people came over from Germany and the first churches in Frankenmuth were two Lutheran churches and now there are five of them. They all get along with each other. That's the way it should be."

People in neighboring communities, like Bridgeport and Vassar, also put up crosses in their yards to show support.

The five suspected vandals of Bronner's Christmas Wonderland are expected in the Saginaw County Courthouse Tuesday afternoon.