The Letterman racket

It’s time to climb into our way-back machine.


It’s August 6, 1995.

Twenty years ago.

Two decades.

A score.

Hot as blazes here in Santa Claus.

The Raven is new and it’s a hit.

And it’s a Sunday afternoon. Will passes along a call from two very excited local teachers.

Letterman ticketThey’ve got tickets to Letterman.

And they want “stuff” to take with them to New York.

Not being a late-night person, it took me a while to interpret their rather odd request.

I knew one of the teachers (best first-grade teacher ever!) and would come to know the other (best high-school English teacher ever!). Betsy and Elaine were Letterman fans of the highest order. And they had a plane to catch.

Dave himself is from Indiana, so it was time to step up and provide gifts for the King of the Late Show. And we had about 20 minutes to make it happen.

Betsy and Elaine (and Will) were convinced that proof that their hometown was Santa Claus, Indiana, would capture the attention of the gap-toothed star.

And so, I rather begrudgingly parted with my two-and-only Santa hats. I liked those hats. I used those hats. Why couldn’t Dave buy his own Santa hats?

“Bring them back safely!” I called, as the teachers dashed off to catch their plane. I meant my Santa hats, of course.

Betsy and Elaine’s ultimate goal, it seems, was threefold.

It had to do with a canned ham.

And a deli named Hello.

And getting Dave to notice them.

I believe they accomplished just that:

Amazing, right?

Betsy and Elaine were literally picked out of the line as they were waiting to get in to see the Late Show.

It was a Christmas wish come true!

Elaine, Rupert Jee from Hello Deli, Betsy, and the coveted canned ham

Elaine, Rupert Jee from Hello Deli, Betsy, and the coveted canned ham

And so, as Dave retires this week, we have just one final question for the Hoosier-born host:

Letterman Santa Hat What did you do with those Santa hats? I still want them back!

As seen on TV

Thunderbird Coming Out of Immelmann

If you don’t live within about a three-hour radius of Santa Claus, Indiana, chances are you’ve never seen our television commercials.

So here is our newest, fresh out of the edit suite and airing beginning today:

Thanks to all of our extras who rode Thunderbird over and over … wait – maybe they should be thanking us! It was a fun couple of days – we hope you enjoy the spot.

Enter our Thunderbird Sweepstakes!

Thunderbird is Santa Approved

Thanks to all who entered our Thunderbird Sweepstakes! Here are our winners of two one-day tickets:

  • Carrie B., Hanover, Indiana
  • Joy H., Solsberry, Indiana
  • Jennifer M., Lawrenceville, Illinois


Is Memorial Day Weekend really just a week away? This month is flying by!

And speaking of “flying by,” so is Thunderbird – have you watched the videos? Thunderbird launches from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds – and it’s as smooth as Santa’s sleigh ride!

Ready to enter our Thunderbird Sweepstakes? We’ll have three winners!

First, the Rules:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter.
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (and our immediate family members) are not eligible to enter.
  • Use the widget, below, to enter (enter daily using the “tweet” option). There are lots of options, so you can earn extra entries by posting here on our HoliBlog, tweeting about this sweepstakes, and visiting us on our Facebook pages. The winners – two chosen at random – will be emailed the afternoon of May 21.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us what you think Santa and Claire talked about during their Thunderbird ride together. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • 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).
  • For the Pinterest option, please pin the photo of Santa and Claire, below.
  • 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.

Two of our winners will be chosen at random and the third will be chosen by our staff from the comments added to this blog post – simply tell us what you think Santa and Claire said to each other. Come on, make us “Ho Ho Ho!”

Santa Tested - Santa Approved

All three winners will each receive two one-day tickets to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari plus two Quick Access Passes for a ride on Thunderbird (or The Voyage, Wildebeest – your choice!).

Ready to enter? Of course you are: Simply enter our sweepstakes here from a mobile device; or if you’re using an immobile device, enter by using the widget, below. And not just today – enter daily through Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 10am CDT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to everyone!

The typo heard round the World

Leah on a Unicylce

Well, that’s embarrassing.

As someone who types every last letter of every single word – even when texting, a slip of the index finger can lead to a stunning repercussion.

As Sophia from The Golden Girls would say, “Picture it: White House, Tennessee; 2015 …”

Our Entertainment staff is off-site this weekend, deep into rehearsals for our new shows for this season.

Leah texted me excitedly about the cast of characters. We have “powerhouse vocalists,” plus circus-themed specialty acts, including break dancers, a silk dancer, and a juggling unicyclist.

Cool, huh?

So I texted her back.

Here’s what I meant to say: Glad you’re so excited about the show. Start blogging!

But since I have this shortcut programmed into my texting: sp = Season Pass … and typoed “sp” instead of “so,” my text turned into:

“Glad you’re Season Pass excited about the show.”

Of course, I didn’t catch it until Leah’s reply: I AM season pass excited!

Huh? What?

Oh. No.

Her next text: I hope you know this is a thing now.

Yes, of course it is.

Because our entire Entertainment cast for 2015 was just clued in, right?

And so:

This is as teasing a bunch as I’ve ever met.

Leah comes by it honestly, from her parents.

And she is season-pass excited about that. And about getting a chance to try her hand – er, legs – at unicycling.

Leah on a unicycle

We hope you’re season-pass excited about riding Thunderbird this weekend. Yes, we know there’s a 50-percent chance of an afternoon storm – but that means there’s also a 50-percent chance of no storms. And there’s a 100-percent chance you’ll save a bunch with this great deal on e-tickets this weekend.

Spot-on fun

Thunderbird Commercial Shoot

It wasn’t just those beautiful Thunderbird trains flying around the skies of Thanksgiving this week.

Thunderbird commercial shoot

That’s right. One of those new-fangled drones was hovering, equipped with a camera (plus two licensed/certified flyers).

Because it’s commercial-shooting time around here!

Thunderbird commerical shoot

Thunderbird was in fine form and Mother Nature cooperated most of the time.

And the riders had a blast.

The drone camera wasn’t the only video-collecting contraption on site. Back in Thunderbird’s station, it looked a little bit like a Hollywood sound stage.

Thunderbird commerical shoot

Our new TV commercial (or “spot” if you want to sound like you’re in the biz) will be on the air in just a few weeks.

In the meantime, here’s our current “Meet Thunderbird” spot:

Want to ride Thunderbird this weekend? Click here for e-tickets at a special discounted rate of just $28.99 each. Don’t be late for launch!