When I was fresh out of college, I did what many young actresses do -- I toured the USA with a children's show. We drove all through Indiana and Michigan for two months, setting up and taking down our modest set and performing our zany, half-hour show about electrical safety.
Highlights included taking pictures under the marquee of the Damm Theater, and the discovery of a state park called Big Bone Lick.
I would be horribly remiss as a holiday blogger if I did not tell you of one place we unexpectedly found: Santa Claus, Indiana.
We couldn't believe it. We found it on the internet while looking for a hotel near the schools we'd be hitting at the end of January. And you bet we went there. I sent this message to a friend:
"Why am I in this weird mood? I'll tell you why. I'm in Santa Claus, Indiana. Staying at Santa's Lodge. On West Christmas Boulevard. You would have to see this town to believe it."
There is a giant holiday theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana, but let me tell you, it is none-too-popular at the end of January. It was a ghost town. The rides stood still like unloved toys. The gates were closed. I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like a non-functional holiday theme park before or since. I felt like I was in a post-apocalyptic film, and that I should go in and see if they had leftover candy canes or medical supplies. I resisted.
I remember overhearing the folks at the practically deserted Santa's Lodge chatting about where they lived (streets named after reindeer and such), and how nice the swimming pool was. I had it all to myself. There were a couple of shops open in town, by the gas station. They sold gifts.
Apparently, long ago, the town was locally known as Santa Fe. In 1914 they wanted to establish a post office, but were denied (on account of that other Santa Fe). They held a town meeting, and I like to imagine there were cocktails, and settled on the name Santa Claus. To this day, children can send letters to the post office in Santa Claus and a volunteer group ensures that every single one receives a reply. Isn't that nice?
A majority of Santa Claus residents live within the gated community of Christmas Lake Village, which was first established in the late 1960s by Bill Koch. It consists of 2,500 acres (10 km2) developed around three lakes: Christmas Lake, Lake Holly, and Lake Noel. The street names in Christmas Lake Village are all themed and named after the Christmas season. Many residents also live in Holiday Village, a subdivision on the north side of town.
Santa Claus is the home to several attractions including: Santa's Candy Castle, Santa Claus Museum, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Frosty's Fun Center, Mushie's Car Museum, and Christmas Lake Golf Course.
Yup. The world is this crazy. Love, Annie
Santa Claus, Indiana - Where the Holiday Spirit Never Dies
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