Where no lost item has gone before…

Who doesn't have a soft spot in their heart for a college competition in which teams are named "Team Kirk" and "Team Spock"?

Whatever it is they're selling … I'm buying. (Although Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott was the fellow for whom I'd risk the wrath of Mom while sneaking out of bed to watch Star Trek from the top of our stairs as a child. A very, very young child.)

Team Kirk and Team Spock were challenged by Scott Anderson, their computer science instructor at the University of Southern Indiana, to undertake a "real world" project.

The challenge was to create a Lost & Found Management software program to replace the one we currently use. (Suffice to say we were ready for an upgrade.) And the class was up for the challenge.

Joe, our IT Director, is a man of relatively few words. When I asked him what he thought of the teams' results, he needed but three bon mots: "Pretty cool stuff."

That's Joe on the far left of the photo, above. Admissions Director Eric is on the far right. And IT Rusty is in the front row in the the, uh, rust-colored shirt.

The two teams don't know yet whose software program was chosen to be used at Holiday World. Was it Team Spock's cool logic or Team Kirk's quick wit (and rugged good looks) that won the day?

They won't find out until after the start of the next semester. And hopefully you, as a park guest, will never have to "real world" test the software program. But if you do happen to lose something while here at the park, chances are the new system will boldly go where our old system did not and if your item is located, we'll know in warp speed.

No bones about it.

Gone, but not forgotten

Everyone knows Holidog, our cuddly park mascot.

But do you remember Mary ChrisMouse?

She had a rather unforgettable look…

Here she is, in all her mousey glory.

Current and past park employees will be quick to point out that Mary would never meet our "uniform standards."

Is that why she’s gone?

Brandon, our HR director, remembers Mary from 1991, when he was a seasonal ride operator here: "I remember working Thunder Bumpers and seeing her walk by."

Does anyone else remember Mary? I showed Joe her picture and he just shook his head. Joe has worked here all but one of our 63 seasons. He remembers everything and everyone … but somehow not Mary.

Do you have any recollections of the old girl, er…mouseling.? If so, please post them here as a comment, no matter how cheesy. There’s something about Mary, but for now she’s squeaking by without bringing back many memories.

“It’s not nice to call you…”

Tens of thousands of children from the world over write to Santa at his address here in Santa Claus, Indiana, each year.

Some letters are sweet, others sad. And there are some that are, um, enthusiastic regarding the quantity of gifts requested.

And then there are some written just to check in on old Santa.

Santa’s getting really busy preparing for his big night, so please make sure children’s letters get here by Monday the 21st. Here’s the address: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus IN 47579.

Flashback to Santa Claus Land

Did you know we haven’t always been called Holiday World?

When we opened on August 3, 1946, we were called Santa Claus Land.

And guess who was hard at work?

Of course! The jolly elf himself.

Have the children you love written to Santa yet? If they get their letters in the mail within the next few days, Santa will be sure to write back. Here’s his address: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus IN 47579. (Be sure to include a legible return address. Donations, which are used to cover postage, are appreciated.)

Merry Christmas from everyone here at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari!

What all the fashionable elves are wearing

Kicking back and sleeping late during the "off season"?

Ha!

Or, rather, ho-ho-ho!

Mrs. Koch’s days are filled with interviews and photo shoots at the Santa Claus Museum.

She’s also leading the annual charge of the Santa’s Elves, who see to it that every letter to Santa Claus that comes through our post office gets a personal reply.

Please get those sweet Letters to Santa here by December 21.

Here’s the address: Santa Claus, PO Box 1, Santa Claus IN 47579. (Be sure to include a legible return address.) Donations to Santa’s Elves, Inc. would be greatly appreciated, to help cover postage costs.

Merry Christmas!

A zoom out from yesterday’s photo

Nearly everyone guessed correctly.

That’s Tommy on the ladder, painting. (About a month ago … a bit too chilly for that today.)

He’s painting the back wall of The Wave at Splashin’ Safari.

A brush with greatness

It’s a great big thing he’s painting, that’s for sure.

So…what is it?

Any ideas?

We’ll let you know in a day or two.

“Looking forward to 2010″

I just wanted to take a minute and let you know that we think your park is the BEST.

I’m a single father of a 10 year old with Down syndrome. Marissa just loves your park. I feel very comfortable with bringing her there. Everyone that works there is awesome and treats her great which makes her feel good and makes me happy.

We come several times every year and both of us are looking forward to the 2010 season. I’m sure you get a lot of comple\iments, but I just wanted you to know that we both love it there and can’t wait to ride the new water coaster. It looks like it will be awesome!

Thanks again and look forward to seeing you in the spring.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone at Holiday World.

Doug S.
Linton, Indiana