By Paula @ Holiday World

Demolition work is underway in preparation for the new Santa’s Merry Marketplace.

Kringle's Kafe demolition

As fast-paced as this work is, we occasionally pause.

Lauren and Tom

That’s Tom, who’s our Carpenter & Facilities Manager, proudly holding a piece of wood.

That’s a two-by-four, right?

Whatever the measure, it’s a piece of history. #HoWoHistory

Because, like all great artists, Tom likes to sign his work.

Tom Berg's Signed Piece of Lumber

Can you decipher it?

It reads: I, Tom Berg, being of sound mind and body, declare that on this day, Jan. 12, 1981, I helped reconstruct this establishment and anything that pertains to it. 

After 37 years, that piece of lumber returns to Tom as a souvenir.

Tom Berg with Signed Lumber Mr. Berg has been with the park for four decades and has been … uh, defacing our property for nearly as long.

Some of our carpenters, while replacing the roof on a building by the Lewis & Clark Trail recently, found a similar relic. There it was: Tom’s name and the date of the long-ago work.

Tom remembers signing his name on the top of the Boston Tea Party games building. (The late Will Koch used to tease Tom about the validity of the “sound mind” part.)

When Stephen met up with Tom to take this photo, our graffiti artist waxed poetic:

It’s neat to go to the top of one of the rolley-coasters and look out and see your life’s work laid out before you

Sometimes, though, your work needs to be replaced after a number of decades.

Such is the case of Kringle’s Kafe, which opened in 1991. It will be expanded and reopen as Santa’s Merry Marketplace in May.

But where did we feed folks back before Kringle’s was around?

We just happen to have the answer available in this newly-digitized film from back in the 1950s.

Take a look back to our early years – our Christmas Dining Room days – at Santa Claus Land:

Before we get too teary-eyed revisiting the past, here’s another look at what we have to look forward to in the spring.

We’ll all make merry then!

Santa's Merry Marketplace | Coming 2019!

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3 Responses to ““Being of sound mind …””

  1. John Haag

    I have always loved the food but I think it’s a great move to add pasta, Asian food and more kid-friendly options. I hope to sample it all next June…if not sooner.

    P.S. – Did you save the lovely and mildly disturbing elf murals.

  2. Jill Kaetzel

    I worked in the original dining room in the early 70s as a waitress. Those were the days when Christmas Lake was just beginning and families were given coupons to a free dinner if they came and looked at property. Sunday’s were especially busy and tips were 50cents.

    • Paula @ Holiday World

      Wow – thanks for the story! From everything I’ve heard and read, the Christmas Dining Room was really popular back then. People would come from miles around for that chicken dinner!