Posts Tagged ‘Santa’s Workshop’

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Boy Who Sued Santa — And Won!

That’s no trick headline you see above. After an incident in the Adirondacks 65 years ago, Santa’s business operations in the mountains were taken to court — by a five-year-old plaintiff.

As you might imagine, there were proxies involved: Santa’s interests were represented by Santa’s Workshop, North Pole, N.Y. (in Wilmington), and young Michael of Saratoga Springs was spoken for by his parents. Attorneys handled the court proceedings on behalf of both parties.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Visiting the North Pole’s Village of Lights

It’s always with great excitement that my family gets to tell visitors that we live near the North Pole. I have photos of Rudolph on my phone and my Christmas cards are all postmarked with the North Pole seal. There are not many places in the Adirondacks that celebrate Christmas all year long.

Since 1949, Santa’s Workshop has been keeping the Christmas spirit alive year-round. Designed by Arto Monaco (Land of Make Believe) Santa’s Workshop, near Wilmington NY, provides us with a direct portal to “the jolly o’ elf.” Though Friday, December  23rd, from 4:30- 8 pm, Santa’s Workshop Village of Lights is open to the public for those last visits to Santa and his friends. The buildings are covered in twinkle lights while holiday music surrounds the tiny village. Elves, large and small, prepare the sleigh and reindeer for their annual Christmas ride. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Unique Legacy of Lake Placid’s Old McDonald’s Farm

Old McDonald's Farm Lake PlacidOn Saturday an Adirondack Diversity Symposium will be held in Newcomb as part of an effort to make the Adirondacks more attractive to people of diverse backgrounds.

In July, one family celebrated it’s sixtieth anniversary of doing just that – introducing inner city youth to the wonders of nature and, in so doing, helping them on a path towards a healthy and rewarding future. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Adirondack Stats: Christmas

Year Pope Julius I and other religious leaders specified December 25th as the official date of the birth of Jesus Christ: 320 AD

Year in which the Christmas Tree is introduced at Strasbourg Cathedral: 1539

Year Alabama became the first state in the US to make Christmas a legal holiday: 1836

Estimated number of copies of Bing Crosby’s version of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” – the best selling single of all time – has sold: in excess of 50 million copies worldwide

Probability of one inch or more of snow on the ground on December 25th in Old Forge: 97%

Year in which F. M. Chapman proposed the first a Christmas bird census: 1900

Number of Christmas Bird count participants in 2000: 50,000

Year in which Santa’s Workshop theme park in Wilmington, NY opened: 1949

Approximate number of daily newspapers who reported on the opening of Santa’s Workshop: over 700 dailies in the U.S. and Canada

Approximate number of movie theater-goers introduced to Santa’s Workshop via a Pathe Newsreel: 30 million

Number of visitors on opening day, July 1, 1949: 212

Number of visitors on September 2, 1951: over 14,000 perhaps as many as 20,000

Year Robert Reiss closes Santa’s Workshop, Wilmington, following a failed business deal: 2001 (it was reopened the following year by Northpole Associates who purchased the facilities in 2005

Year in which Arthur Gillette opened Christmas City, USA theme park on Rt. 9 near Lake George: 1963

Year in which Christmas City, USA changed its name to Magic Forest: 1965

Photo: ABC Sportscaster Jim McKay with Santa at Santa’s Workshop in 1980.


Sources: Adirondack Chronology (pdf), Santas.Net, Guinness Book of World Records, Northeast Regional Climate Center, Santa’s Workshop.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Restoring Arto Monaco’s Land of Makebelieve

Among theme-park historians Arto Monaco is a legend. The work of Monaco in designing the area’s theme parks has become a central part of the history of tourism in the Adirondacks. His creations have been found in the defunct Old McDonald’s Farm (Lake Placid), The Land of Makebelieve (Upper Jay), Gaslight Village (Pottersville and then Lake George), and Frontier Town (North Hudson), at Storytown (now the corporate Great Escape) and Santa’s Workshop in Wilmington (the last of a breed and a spot that made our Seven Human-Made Wonders of the Adirondacks).

Monaco was a local artist who designed sets for MGM and Warner Brothers, a fake German village in the Arizona desert to train World War II soldiers, and later his own Land of Makebelieve. Monaco died in 2005, but not before the Arto Monaco Historical Society (AMHS) was organized (in 2004) in order to preserve and perpetuate Monaco’s legacy, assemble a collection of his work, and stabilize and restore the Land of Makebelieve which was closed in 1979 after the Ausable River flooded the park for the eleventh time.

Since they first went into the woods with tools in 2006, volunteers of the AMHS have hacked the now overgrown Land of Makebelieve out of the encroaching forests in hopes of saving what’s left of Monaco’s legacy there from the ravages of nature.

On Saturday, September 26, the AMHS will hold its 2009 Annual Meeting followed by a another work session at the former Land of Makebelieve site from 1 to 4 pm. The morning meeting will be held at Paul Johnson’s Bakery, on Route 9N one mile south of the Upper Jay bridge. Lunch is available for those who stay for the afternoon work session. To RSVP, or for information on the upcoming work day or volunteering for the AMHS in general, contact them through their website at http://www.artomonaco.org/.

Photo: The Land of Makebelieve in 2006 before volunteers began work on the abandoned theme park.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Adirondack Family Activities: Santa’s Workshop Character Breakfast

This is the final weekend to have breakfast with the merry old elf before he starts working overtime. So if you are planning a visit to Santa’s Workshop in Wilmington, N.Y., September 5th is the last opportunity for the season to join Santa and his friends for breakfast at Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. The buffet is offered only on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The price is a reasonable $8.95 for children 12 and under. Admission to the park is not included.

This fantasy adventure park is a sure thing for a younger set. Red-vested elves, Frosty the Snowman, and some other wintry characters will greet you and from then on, it’s Santa’s terrain. Many of the carnival rides have weight and height restrictions so with great pride the very youngest will be able to venture off and gain some much needed independence. Take note of the elf holding the sign, “This ride is for children who stand beneath my hand.”

The Christmas theme is carried throughout the park with a Sleigh Rollercoaster, Tree Ornament Ride, Peppermint Swing, and Candy Cane Train to name a few.

Since 1949, Santa’s Workshop has been providing families with wintery fun all year long. The brainchild of Lake Placid businessman Julian Reiss and designed by Arto Monaco, Santa’s Workshop became the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. It has been touted as the first theme park.

Make sure to check in at the North Pole Railroad Station because the entry fee is good for a second consecutive day. For those other parents with lift ticket mentality (dividing the number of runs taken by the cost of the ski ticket) having the opportunity to come back another day will take some pressure off trying to fit in all that Santa’s Workshop has to offer.

Catch some of Santa’s friends performing at Mother Goose’s Guild or watch a puppet show at the Jack Jingle Theatre. Wrap up the tour with a trip to the barn to feed the reindeer. Children can even participate in a parade to Santa’s House where they can have a sit down with St. Nick.

Santa’s Workshop is located in Wilmington, NY. Call 800-806-0215 for directions. Please remember if your visit is incomplete, you may request a re-entry pass for the next day at the post office.

Photograph of cast members at Santa’s Workshop.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Santa’s Workshop Turns Back the Clocks

Santa‘s Workshop opens for their 60th season this Saturday (June 27th) with some prices from the past. Between the hours of 11am-1pm on opening day Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard will be serving up 25 cent cokes and 25 cent hot dogs (admission to the park is additional). Santa’s Workshop is open 5 days per week June 27th-September 7th from 10am-4pm with additional hours during the fall and winter months. Check their website for dates and times at www.northpoleny.com.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gaslight Village: Lake George Fun Yesterday

I thought I’d take a look at the history of the one of the more popular Adirondack theme parks – Lake George’s Gaslight Village.

Gaslight Village opened in 1959 and was run by Charley Wood. Charley already owned a number of investments including Holiday House on the shores of Lake George, and Storytown, U.S.A., an amusement park with a Mother Goose rhymes theme (later expanded with Ghost Town, a western boot-hill theme, and Jungle Land, an animal park) which he opened in 1954. He later went on to build the Tiki Resort (now a Howard Johnson’s), a short lived wax museum, Sun Castle resort, and more. » Continue Reading.