- Plan A Visit
- Rides & Slides
- Buy Tickets
15 April 2005 - 1:50pm
About 18 months ago, I got a new computer here at work. One of the fussy little set-up chores is to go through and choose all the “Options” in Outlook. I send my emails HTML. I sort my Contacts by Address Cards (but not Detailed Address Cards). I prefer my Icons small and in a list, thankyouverymuch.
Next it was time to sort out my Calendar.
One option presented is “show holidays.”
Rather a no-brainer, don’t you think? If you work at Holiday World, being aware of the nation’s holidays is a good thing. On the appointed day, up pops the announcement of the holiday. Ground Hog Day. St. Patrick’s Day. Columbus Day. Tax Day.
Who in the world declared today a holiday? Was this the work of a federal agency? Or some mischievous software designer who claims an extra three dependents each year and gets a fat check back from the IRS?
Could there possibly be a method to this madness?
Once in a while, just for fun, we toss around ideas for a new themed section. But no one has ever suggested Tax Day.
Think of it, though, for just a minute…what joy a Tax Day section could bring to families:
- The Shake You Down Go-Round, the world’s first inverted merry-go-round
- The Taxman Cometh dark ride, complete with laser pointers for scratching out errors
- The Bean Counter Carousel, sponsored by H&R Block
- a musical show called Evasion Jubilation
- a dunking booth with – you guessed it – simulated IRS agents; and finally…
- The Taxinator roller coaster, which only goes uphill.
Thanks to my Cousin Jeff in St. Louis for helping me with these ideas. I tried calling our corporate controller first, but was told he has taken the day off. Huh. I guess, for some, today is a holiday.
14 April 2005 - 5:17pm
Rachel came back from the main office this afternoon with the following story:
As I was looking for more letterhead over at the main office today, I heard a big sigh come through the door first ... then Will.
I chuckled and Will said, “I asked Marlene if she had seen Mom, and she said, 'The last time I saw her she was headed out with a broom.'”
Will laughed and said loudly, “AND IT’S JUST APRIL!”
As I was leaving the office I noticed Will had found Mrs. Koch. I thought, "Oh that’s nice, they are going to lunch together."
But wait, she was just showing him the door leading out of the main office. She was so proud ... she cleaned all the metal on the door and it was shining beautifully.
That door had been bothering her all winter.
Will and I just stood there for a moment and Mrs. Koch said, “You don’t remember what it looked like before do you?”
Nope, we sure didn’t.
She went on to explain it had a lot of black grimy stuff on it and was disgusting. But now it was gleaming like new.
Will shook his head.
"Oh, great! Now we have to paint the door."
14 April 2005 - 4:17pm
The call came out on the two-way radio first thing this morning: All units, we need 24 bodies for The Raven!
Training is a particularly rough time around here. We have to ride roller coasters over and over. We have sample new food items day after day.
Rachel and I trudged dutifully out to the station. There were two seats left for us in the new Raven train.
We were both a bit alarmed as the seats felt a bit … um … cozy.
We decided it wasn’t because we were wider, but because the train is brand new. Gotta break in those new seats…like a new pair of shoes.
Sure, that’s it.
What a relief to find out we were correct!
It’s funny to have 24 fellow employees all together in a train. Lots of different departments were represented; picnics in front of us, warehouse and shops immediately behind. Really good people; jovial teasing and laughter in anticipation of the first ride of the day.
On a side note, we now have a Transfer Track Storage Building adjacent to the Raven station. It’ll be handy for the maintenance staff and will provide storage for the second train on slow days. It’s an extra tunnel at the very start of the ride.
Now that we have two trains, the lift-hill chain will go slower. In essence, it will make the ride experience a longer one.
I think it’s more fun to take your time heading up the hill. Gives you time to look around. Check things out.
Hey, Vanessa! Your shop windows need cleaning!
At the top of the hill, we crested and down we flew. I’m a screamer, remember? The guys up ahead seemed to find that amusing.
Rachel just peeped out an occasional, “Oh!” Up and down the hills. Over the lake. And that wild ending back to the station.
Whew! Great ride. Who needs caffeine?
Let’s go again!
It amazes me how some people can ride over and over and never tire of it. Me? I definitely have my limits. On the third ride around (which I was promised would be my last ride of the day), they practiced stopping the train on the lift hill. (Training, remember?) Didn’t like that one bit. No, sir. Going up, up, up, is okay. Stopping on the hill, for me, goes against nature. Vanessa and Dee Ann, farther back in the train, felt the same way.
I tried getting everyone to sing “Kumbaya” but found it far more soothing to holler, “I’m freaking out!”
We made it back to the station and hopped out.
Thank you for riding Raven Air!
Sure. Happy to help. Call anytime. Glad to be a team player. Whatever it takes.
Okay, so where else are they training today? Funnel cakes or the fudge shop?
13 April 2005 - 3:32pm
...Illinois, that is. Here's what an email from Mike had to say:
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading the articles you post on the HoliBlog site.
I have visited Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari every year since 1979 when my grandparents would bring myself, my brother and cousins every summer. Now I have made it a family tradition of my own and bring my child every year. I could probably walk through the park with my eyes closed and know exactly where I was just by the sounds of the rides. Keep up the good work and tell Mrs. Koch I think she looks as good in person as she does on TV. Every time I have visited the park I always see her greeting guests and helping to keep the park clean. You all deserve a huge round of applause for providing such an enjoyable experience to everyone young and old. I look forward to another wonderful visit in July of this year.
PS - I was just curious, I believe back in the early '80s, prior to the Hoosier Celebration Theatre, there was another theatre behind Mrs. Klaus's Kitchen. There was also a play area with I believe a rocket shaped slide. Has all this been removed? I always try to peak through the fence to catch a glimpse but have never been able to see anything.
I forwarded Mike's email to Will Koch, who remembers that area well. Here's Will's reply:
He is correct. The theater was called the Showboat Theatre. (It was originally built for the Santa Claus Land Children’s Choir.) That was where Happy Kellems (the clown) and Gene Smith (the tap dancing magician) performed. There was also a country show there in some years. The theater was where the pole building that houses the carpenters’ shop supplies is now. There was also a rocket-shaped kid’s slide that was located literally right where I now park my car.
Happy Kellems (that's his wife and partner, Lillian, bonking him on the head) was a popular clown at Santa Claus Land. We'll have to talk more about him in the coming months and years. During his long career, Happy performed for presidents, with Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and for families at Santa Claus Land.
For now, here's a Happy quote from a 1979 newspaper article: "The most important this is to bring as much laughter and happiness as you can to a tired world that needs laughter."
13 April 2005 - 11:45am
Mrs. Koch just called and told me this little story; she asked me to add it to our HoliBlog:
On Sunday, there was a knock at her door. It was an elderly gentleman, who asked if she knew the whereabouts of L.J. Koch, Jr., an old friend.
She explained that he had passed away; he was her brother-in-law.
He asked if her family was the one which owned the “tin shop” in Evansville. Indeed, Mrs. Koch’s father-in-law, Louis J. Koch, Sr., was one of the “sons” of George Koch Sons (now a subsidiary of Koch Enterprises Inc.).
The visitor asked which Koch she married, and she told him about Bill.
The octogenarian remembered meeting Bill Koch back in the 1940s, during a visit to the town of Santa Claus. The gentleman was helping the VFW bring a group of underprivileged children to the town of Santa Claus to visit the park. (Not Santa Claus Land, but the park around the bend which included the huge Santa statue.)
The children were so disappointed when it was discovered that the park had closed and they would not be able to enjoy their day as planned. At this point, Bill Koch entered the picture. (Here’s a 1956 photo of Mr. Koch at Santa Claus Land with his parents.)
A Navy veteran of World War II, Mr. Koch didn’t want the VFW’s group of children to leave the town disappointed. So he invited the entire group over for a day at Santa Claus Land, his treat.
The man finished his story with a smile and, turning to leave, added: “Can I give you a compliment? You really do take care of yourself!”
Mrs. Koch chuckled with laughter over the compliment. “I was ready to go out, so I was all dressed up. I wonder what he would have said if he’d seen me 30 minutes earlier?!”