‘Oh, fudge!’ Sweepstakes

Butterscotch Fudge at Mrs. Klaus' Kitchen | Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

Congratulations to Linda S. from St. Meinrad, Indiana, and Paulette A. H. from Nashville, Tennessee, who each win two one-day tickets for our 2016 season. Thanks to all who entered!
Have you watched A Christmas Story yet this year? That’s an Indiana story, did you know? Little Ralphie was actually Jean Parker Shepherd, who grew up in Hammond, Indiana, in the 1920s and ’30s. (As a side note, as a teenager, I used to listen to “Shep” on WOR radio. What a storyteller he was!)

And so, with Ralphie in mind (and a mouth full of soap), we introduce our “Oh, Fudge!” Sweepstakes.

Butterscotch fudgeOur F&B team spent a day with a Fudge Expert (yes, that really is a job title; pretty sweet, huh?) last month. They asked if we could post a non-binding poll here on the HoliBlog, listing seven new-to-us flavors so you can vote for your favorite.

At the same time, please enter our sweepstakes and maybe win a pair of one-day tickets for next year.

Here’s how:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter this giveaway.
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (and our immediate family members) are not eligible to enter.
  • Use the widget, below, to enter daily. There are lots of options, so you can earn extra entries by voting in this poll, posting a comment here on our HoliBlog, tweeting about this sweepstakes, and visiting us on our Facebook page. The winners – chosen at random – will be emailed shortly after 11am CST on December 14.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us about your favorite Christmas treat. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • By entering our sweepstakes, you agree to be added to our e-newsletter list. You may unsubscribe at any time by following the directions in your email.
  • Did you know you can subscribe to our HoliBlog so that you receive all of our posts (including contests) by email? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Just scroll down a tiny bit more to find it.

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Good luck, everyone – and Merry Christmas to all!

Oh, heavens – what a cookbook!

Did you get a chance to browse through Hevron’s Mercantile this season?

Joe Hevron's name badgeIf you’re a regular HoliBlog reader you’ll recognize our new shop’s name as belonging to our longtime employee (and dear friend) Joe Hevron, who passed away in 2011 after working at the park since we opened in 1946.

That’s right. Joe began his career in 1946, our first season. (I’ve just learned he was our first popcorn popper.) That was back when we were called Santa Claus Land. Joe had just finished high school, and other than serving his country during the 1950s, he never left.

In May, members of Joe’s family gathered with us to honor him, share some sweet – and funny – stories, and cut a ribbon to officially dedicate Hevron’s Mercantile.

Hevron's Ribbon Cutting

Well, not exactly “ribbon.”


We used the traditional “big  scissors”; Leah and Lauren asked for help from a young Hevron family member.

For the ribbon, we substituted something Joe used a lot of during his long tenure with us – adding-machine paper. (He probably would have wanted us to gather up the scraps and use them. He was a practical fellow. Oh, and he also would have been mortified that we named a shop after him – but we all agreed that Joe would have been pleased to know that we cared for him so deeply.)

Joe’s descendants shared their family cookbook, “One hundred seventy-five years of Recipes and Reflections,” with us to make available in Hevron’s Mercantile and now, on the HoliShop. (We thought they were all gone, but found 10 more, so if you’d like one, please order it soon.)

Flipping through the cookbook is a charming trip back in time, as the recipes are peppered with narratives from several generations. Alongside ingredient lists for Pumpkin Pie, Prune Pie, Rhubarb Pie and even Vinegar Pie (!) are stories and photos from generations ago.

There are even Civil War-era recollections handed down. Joe’s home place was in Lincoln City – in fact some of the family’s property is now part of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.

As we planned our evening to honor Joe, we knew – since he loved his sweets! – we’d need to serve cake. It featured a photo of Joe as engineer on the Santa Claus Land Railroad train (you may remember it as the Freedom Train) and his favorite phrase, “Oh, heavens!”


"Oh heavens!" cake

If you’d like one of the “Our Lincoln Heritage” cookbooks, please order soon, as there are only a handful left (and I’m getting ready to purchase some for Christmas gifts).

‘What’s new for 2016?’

Boy-oh-boy, have we heard that question a lot this fall!

In 2016, we celebrate our 70th birthday. Pretty amazing to think we’ve been around that long – ever since Louis J. Koch (Lauren and Leah’s great-grandpa) decided it was time for Santa to have his own park here in the town that was named for him.

During the “off season,” we perform a tremendous amount of maintenance on our rides. Walk through the park this time of year and the rides are quite skeletal in appearance.

For example, HallowSwings was stripped down to its bare bones last month.


Tarp Lifted Off HallowSwings

Even the smiling skulls will get a new coat of paint.

HallowSwings' Skeletons and Pumpkins

It should come as no surprise that our wooden roller coasters receive loads of TLC during the colder months.

The trains receive the full spa treatment.

Zach working on Legend car

And the track? We’ll, let’s just say that all three wooden coasters – Raven, Legend and Voyage – will be extra exciting to ride in the spring.

Because our Coaster Cats have an “in” with Santa. (The man in red loves riding coasters.) So we caught their plans on camera for you.

Coaster Cats working on Voyage

Let’s start off with a video greeting from Matt, Lauren and Leah … and be sure to keep watching, as our Cats work on their wish list for 2016.

We’ll be back in January with details. What do you think we’re up to? (Please post your comments below.)


‘House Hunters’ airs Thursday!

House Hunters on Thunderbird | Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

There’s something extra special about being located in a town named Santa Claus.

Especially this time of year.

Back in the summer, HGTV called us about their plan to produce a series of “House Hunters” episodes this year – each featuring a town themed around Christmas.

Their crew followed Tom and Terri as they prepared to relocate to southern Indiana. When the couple realized there was a town named Santa Claus, they were intrigued.

House Hunters at Holiday World

When they saw the town included a theme park – with roller coasters – they were sold.

House Hunters get loopy

It was a lovely coincidence that they just happened to visit us on National Roller Coaster Day, back in August.

One perk of working here is you get invited to be an “extra” for shoots such as this. So we filled the train with full-time folks (and their family members) from departments as varied as Human Resources, Safety & Security, Maintenance, Accounting, and Marketing.

When the producer asked for take after take on Thunderbird, Tom and Terri didn’t complain a bit. They just kept riding.

We think they’ll fit in around here just fine.

House Hunters riding ThunderbirdHere’s Matt, our park president, and his younger daughter, Claire, with Tom and Terri. Claire remembered to wear her hair down so as to provide good “coaster hair” for the cameras. She’s a pro.

So, when does this air?

Tune in to House Hunters on HGTV this Thursday at 9pm CST (that’s 10pm EST) and then again on Christmas Eve at 4:30pm CST (5:30pm EST) for the re-run.

Welcome to Santa Claus, Tom and Terri!

Honoring 68 years of service

When you work at a theme park, you’re in the service industry.

Given today’s date, though, let’s take a look at a different type of service.

Veterans Day is a time to honor the service of all American military veterans.

Our new Maintenance Director, Joe, comes to us following more than a dozen years in the Navy.

He won’t be lonely here.

Veterans Day

That’s Joe on the far left. Next, Anthony (Army), John (Army), Matt (Navy), Dale (Army, Navy Seebees), Elmer (Army), Billy (Army) and Paul (Army). In all, their military service totals 68 years.

The Veterans Administration website states the purpose of this holiday simply: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

We are proud to know each one of these gentlemen and thank them for their service. And, on this eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year, we extend a thank you to all veterans who have served this nation.


Sweepstakes: Platinum Season Passes

Congratulations to Monica and William W. from Owensboro, Kentucky, who each won a Platinum Season Pass! Thanks to all who entered!


It’s that time of year when we’re all taken by surprise that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. (And don’t even get me started about December!)

Here’s another Remember This Date: The deepest discounts for 2016 Platinum Season Passes, standard Season Passes, and Summer Fun Cards are getting ready to expire. When? Sunday night at midnight (November 15). Central Standard Time, that is.

Interested to learn what it takes to turn a Season Pass Platinum? It’s everything Season Passholders love, plus:

If you’re a numbers person, take a look:

Do the math (or just take our word for it): This is a great deal!

Be sure to sign up for our Easy Pay option by November 15, and your monthly payment is just $25.33. There are all sorts of details here on our Season Passes page.

Feeling lucky? Be sure to enter our Platinum Season Pass Sweepstakes, below, and you might be chosen at random this Saturday to win two!

First, please be sure to follow these Rules:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter this giveaway.
  • By entering, you agree to be added to our e-newsletter list (you may unsubscribe at any time by following the directions in your email).
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (and our immediate family members) are not eligible to enter.
  • Did you know you can subscribe to our HoliBlog so that you receive all of our posts (including contests) by email? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Just scroll down a tiny bit more to find it.
  • Enter by 3pm CST on Saturday, November 14; the winner (chosen by random) will be emailed by Saturday evening.

There are multiple ways to enter (some you can use to enter every day). When invited to enter by adding a comment to this blog post, tell us what you miss most about us during our off-season. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)

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We hope you’re #SeasonPassExcited about this sweepstakes – good luck to all!

Trick or tweet

You never know whom you might run into here at the park during the Halloween season.

 We see some … incredible … costumes …
Incredibles at Holiday World

And then there’s this family who really had a ball!

Chicago White Sox fans will recognize pitcher Zach Duke as the tweeter. Evansvillians might recognize his wife, home-town girl Kristin. (Zach tweeted back “absolutely” when we asked if we’d hit one out of the ball park with Thunderbird.) And speaking of Thunderbird, here’s a wonderful photo we reposted recently (thanks, @daurielise!):

BOO-tiful photo from #HappyHalloweenWeekends! #repost #Halloween #HolidayWorld #pumpkin #rollercoaster A photo posted by Holiday World (@holidayworld) on

Saturday is the final day of Happy Halloween Weekends (we’re closed on Sunday). We hope you’ll join us for one last day of coasters, corn mazes, dancing zombies, pumpkin funnel cakes and more!

The Launching (Un)dead

Once again, our Graveyard Smash cast is killin’ it on stage.

Our singing/dancing zombies deserve a little fun, too, don’t you think?

Maybe a little thrill … er?

We thought so, too.

Last Saturday, before the park opened for the day …

Zombies on Thunderbird

… our ghosts and ghouls (and some clown) went out to launch together.

Graveyard Smash cast rides ThunderbirdIt was quite an experience for our dancing undead.

After “riding” Thunderbird, our Ghost, Ms. Dracula, and an ever-so-stylish Witch declared they were in immediate need of a long, long nap in a very dark, cool place.

One of them even started coffin, but – no worries – it was just their zombie sense of humor.

Witchie-poo’s cryptic comment: I may just give my broom the brush-off after that ride!

We advised her not to fly off the handle.

She asked about riding again, after dark.

When the moon is full.

We just asked her to be sure to turn off the light’s witch after she’s done. (Sorry. We’re done, too. Well, almost.)

After this fun photo shoot, we invited the cast to actually ride Thunderbird – removing all loose items and storing them on a shelf beforehand, of course.

It was quite an undertaking …

Graveyard Smash Not Your Average Loose Items

Graveyard Smash will be on stage as part of our Happy Halloween Weekends this Saturday and Sunday, next weekend, plus Halloween – October 31. Scare up some time to bring your family – and make some BOOtiful memories with us!