Pasta perfect

Bill Koch meeting the creator of Fettuccine Alfredo

When a family-owned business has been around for 65 years, there are always new discoveries. By that I mean … we’re forever finding precious old photos and mementos tucked away in odd places. The other day, Mrs. Koch bounded into my office carrying a big box. Look what we just found in the attic over…

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Santa Claus Land forward: 65 years in 2 minutes

Wednesday was a big anniversary for us. Sixty-five years ago, on August 3, 1946, Louis J. Koch opened his park, Santa Claus Land. It was his retirement project, conceived before World War II and opened a year – nearly to the day – after turning over that first shovel of dirt. As part of our…

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That other “ho-ho-ho!” guy

As a child, growing up far, far away from the town of Santa Claus, it just didn't seem right. There was some other guy claiming "ho-ho-ho" as his own on TV. Remember him? I had to go back and find the commercial and double-check: Indeed. That Green Giant canned vegetable guy stole Santa's iconic line…

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There’s one in every crowd

We've all done it while posing for a group photo. Someone has to be the clown, right? Whether it's the fingers-in-a-V behind your brother's head or crossing your eyes, you've done it, too, haven't you?  Here's a long-ago photo from a friend in Indiana tourism (Jan, you haven't changed one little bit!). Jan tells this…

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“Oh, heavens!”

Joe Hevron, Army photo

If, in the past 65 years, you worked at Santa Claus Land or Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, you will no doubt recognize that phrase. And who said it. Oh, Joe… Joe Hevron. He’s the only person who worked here every year of our history. All except when he served his country in the Army,…

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Do you remember your first visit?

Steve does. He grew up visiting his grandparents in Bedford, Indiana, each summer … and remembers the "long, long" drive to Santa Claus Land back in the 1950s. His mom ran across this wonderful old photo recently. That's Steve on the left; his sister Sharon is in the middle — and that's their uncle Raymond…

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Birthdays are holidays, too …

… so let’s take a minute to say Happy Birthday to a very special man. Bill Koch was born in Evansville on January 10, 1915. He graduated from Reitz High School in 1932 and Purdue University in 1937. Then it was off to Annapolis for post-graduate work at the U.S. Naval Academy and ship reconstruction…

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A fowl memory of Santa Claus Land

We received a confession, of sorts, from Ginger via email this week. The Bloomington, Indiana, lady graciously gave us permission to make this a public confession. We searched our photo archives, but couldn’t find the perfect photo to go with this story. You’ll understand why once you read it. From Ginger, here is the Great…

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Santa Claus Land Children’s Choir

1970 Santa Claus Land Children's Choir

Has it really been 40 years? All these children are grown now, with children (and maybe even grandchildren) of their own. Time, it seems, flies as fast as Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve Just in time for Christmas, we’ve dusted off this film (yes, this was long before VHS tapes or DVDs) of the Santa…

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Do you remember Santa Claus Land?

We started out, back in 1946, as a park called Santa Claus Land. Here’s a rather remarkable precursor to today’s infomercial. And yes, it includes a darling Santa Jim cameo. And those well-remembered educated animals. If you enjoy learning about the history of Holiday World, you might like a copy of our pictorial history book…

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One veteran’s story

Thank you to all the veterans whose devotion to our country has kept us safe and free over the centuries. In 1916, this young Navy man helped plan a ship-board Christmas party at the Brooklyn Shipyard for underprivileged children. Since he liked to talk about being from a town near Santa Claus, Indiana, he was…

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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…

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