Everyone knows the North Pole as being the home of Santa Claus. The North Pole conjures up images of a magical wonderland covered in snow while elves work nonstop throughout the year for that one special day, Christmas. Although most places only celebrate Christmas one time a year, it is always Christmas in Santa Claus, Indiana. Santa Claus is a small town of 2000 people located in southern Indiana, about fifty miles from Evansville. The town welcomes visitors all year long as Christmas is more than just a holiday.
The question that is always asked is how did the town acquire its name? Although many different stories exist, there is only one held to be true. In 1856, the town applied to the US Postal Service to have a post office installed. The ten years preceding that application, the town was known as Santa Fe. However, there was already a town called Santa Fe located in northern Indiana. The US Postal Service told the town that they had to find a new name. This is where fact and legend come together. On Christmas Eve, the town gathered at the church for Christmas service and a town meeting was to directly follow to decide on a name. For months, proposals were submitted and none of them had a majority approval. While the town elders were debating, the sound of bells could be heard outside the church. A young child shouted out "Santa Claus" and after a vote, the town officially had a name.
The town draws tourists all year round. The summer sees a huge increase in tourists because of Holiday World and Splashing Safari. An amusement park that opened up in 1946, it has expanded to over 47 rides including four roller coasters, and one of the best water parks in the area. December, of course, also draws huge crowds as festivals and light shows light up the town.
The town has numerous events from November 20-December 20 mostly on the weekends. There are one time events such as the Rockport Christmas Festival, Christmas Parade, Christmas Lake Village Festival of Lights and the Radio Day Christmas Show. Weekend events include Christmas Karaoke, Tree Lighting with Caroling, Land of Lights, and Santa’s Great Big LED Tree of Lights. If you have a competitive spirit, there are plenty of contests. There is the fastest Christmas tree decorating, fastest gift wrapping, fruitcake eating contest, or who can build the best gingerbread house. When you get hungry, look for the Santa’s Food Booths. Most of the contests and festivals are held either at the Kringle Place Shopping Center, Santa’s Candy Castle, or at the American Legion. Most of the events are free and you can get a schedule by visiting www.legendaryplaces.org.
Be sure to visit Santa’s Candy Castle, the town’s first attraction. Here children can log onto the North Pole Network. Children can talk to an elf, let Santa know what they want for Christmas, and even find out if you are on the good list. If you are, then you can take home a certificate of your good standing with the big man. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the many different confections and gourmet candy canes. During December, events include Santa’s visit, Christmas Wood Carving demonstrations, and experience roasting chestnuts on an open fire.