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Thursday, June 16 2011

Santa Claus a Finalist for "Most Fun" Town

June 9, 2011 (Santa Claus, Ind.) - The town of Santa Claus is one of 30 contenders in the Best of the Road contest sponsored by USA Today and Rand McNally. Competing with six other finalists in the category for "Most Fun," Santa Claus, Indiana was selected from over 600 locales.

On June 23, five teams of travelers will journey from New York City to Los Angeles by July 15. Each team will visit six towns in an assigned category: most beautiful, most patriotic, friendliest, most fun, and best food, as well as points of interest en route.

The teams will choose the number one town in each of their respective categories and the towns will be highlighted on the Rand McNally website and in the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas, as well as on USA Today's Travel site. Winning towns will be announced on July 22.

"We are so excited that Santa Claus, Indiana, is one of the finalists in the Best of the Road contest," says Melissa Wilkinson, Executive Director of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau. "We're proud to be considered one of the "Most Fun" towns in America."

More details about the Rand McNally contest can be found at:> and photos are available upon request.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, April 19 2011

SPENCER CO., IN - Holiday World & Splashin' Safari will get some national airtime this summer. The park will be featured on the Travel Channel reality show, "Bert the Conqueror."

The show's host, Bert Kreischer, is described as an "everyman" who travels the country, conquering extreme rides, sports and unusual competitions.

Bert will visit Holiday World & Splashin' Safari on May 6 and 7 to try and "conquer" The Voyage roller coaster and Wildebeest water coaster, each voted the world's top rides of their kind. Park President Dan Koch said his mother is also planning an extra challenge for Bert.

"We hear that Bert hollers like a little girl on roller coasters," says park president Dan Koch. "I hope that means he'll drown out my screams."

The show's producers said Holiday World was the most demanded venue for Bert to feature in his show's second season.

You can join Bert as he tries to conquer the rides. Holiday World is conducting "open auditions" by video and email through April 20. In a one minute video or 175 word email, families are asked to explain why they should be picked to ride along with Bert. Contest rules can be found at 

"Bert the Conqueror" airs Sunday evenings on the Travel Channel. The Holiday World episode is expected to air this summer.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, October 11 2010

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari President Dan Koch says the parks have topped one-million in attendance for the fifth year in a row. The attraction in Santa Claus has wrapped up its 64th season by setting an attendance record with nearly 1.2 million guests. Holiday World has also announced former President Will Koch has been inducted into the World Waterpark Association Hall of Fame.

SANTA CLAUS, IND-----Holiday World finished its 64th season today by setting a new seasonal attendance record, up nearly 14 percent from the previous record, set last year.

“This is the fifth year in a row we’ve topped one million in attendance,” says park president Dan Koch. “We’re very grateful to all the families who came to visit our parks.”

With a final count of 1,182,636 guests, Koch credits the season’s growth with the addition of Wildebeest, the world’s longest water coaster, plus the parks’ budget-friendly free soft drinks, along with a continued concentration on cleanliness and friendliness.

“So much of the credit for our growth goes to the incredible service and hospitality provided by our Hosts and Hostesses,” Koch says. “As far as we’re concerned, it takes more than great rides and shows to make a park worth visiting. We are very appreciative of our hard-working staff.”

Koch became president of the park in June, following the unexpected death of his brother Will, who had guided the park’s successful growth and development for more than two decades. Over the weekend, the World Waterpark Association (WWA) inducted Will Koch into its Waterpark Hall of Fame. According to the WWA, their Waterpark Hall of Fame “honors the water leisure industry's most important pioneers and innovators.”

“This is a great honor for a great man,” says Dan Koch. “I am thankful for my brother’s life.”

Holiday World, the world’s first theme park, will open its 65th season on May 7, 2011. Splashin' Safari will open for the season on May 13, with the debut of Safari Sam’s SplashLand, a children’s water-play area with eight new water slides. For more information visit or call 1-877-GO-FAMILY

Source: Holiday World & Splashin' Safari & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 01:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, September 24 2010

Officials at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus are reporting an increase in customers this year of approximately 13 percent. Public Relations Director Paula Werne says the jump can be mainly attributed to the debut of the park's new water coaster, Wildebeest. Holiday World has also announced plans for more than $5 million in improvements by next summer.

That includes $1 million in parking lot improvements and additional restrooms.

Werne says the decisions on what improvements should be made comes partly from customer feedback, along with the park's long-term planning process.

She also says the debut of a major new ride usually leads to a two-year bump in attendance, allowing the park to focus on important upkeep items such as parking lot improvements and more restrooms.

The park is also planning to restore the town's historic Santa statue in the next year. It was dedicated in 1935.

Source: Holiday World & Splashin Safari & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 13 2010

Congratulations to Holiday World for their great achievement.


Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in southern Indiana has won six Golden Ticket Awards by Amusement Today magazine. In addition, late owner Will Koch is the second inductee into the magazine's Legends Series. Golden Tickets were presented to the Wildebeest water coaster for Best New Ride in a Water Park and Best Overall Water Park Ride, and the Voyage roller coaster as the top-ranked Wooden Coaster on the Planet for the fourth consecutive year. Holiday World also collected top awards for Cleanest Park and Friendliest Park.

The new Wildebeest water coaster at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari was named the Best New Ride in a Water Park and Best Overall Water Park Ride at Saturday evening’s Golden Ticket Awards, presented during an Academy Awards-style ceremony at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

In addition, Holiday World's Voyage roller coaster was named the #1 Wooden Coaster on the Planet for the fourth year in a row.

Presented by Amusement Today publisher Gary Slade, the industry’s “best of the best” awards include theme, amusement and water parks from around the world. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari won a record six Golden Ticket Awards at this year’s ceremony.

For the eleventh consecutive year, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari were named the #1 Cleanest Park, outranking such parks as Disney World, Kings Island, Dollywood, and Cedar Point. The parks also received #1 Friendliest Park award for the twelfth year.

“For these awards, we humbly thank our wonderful Hosts and Hostesses,” says park matriarch Pat Koch, who attended the ceremony with daughter-in-law Lori and grandson William. “It was a long, hot summer and they all worked together to keep smiling and keep cleaning.”

In an emotional tribute, the late Will Koch was honored as only the second inductee in Amusement Today’s Legends Series for being “a true visionary, leader and dear friend to the industry.” The park’s leader for more than two decades, Koch passed away unexpectedly in June at the age of 48.

Amusement Today is an international monthly trade journal for the amusement and water park industries, based in Arlington, Texas. The Golden Ticket Awards are determined by surveys submitted by well-traveled park enthusiasts from around the world.

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari will be open September 18 and then closed to the public September 19 for a private outing. From September 25 through October 10, Holiday World will be open weekends-only before closing for the season.

Source: Holiday World & Splashin Safari & Inside INdiana Business

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 12:28 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 14 2009

— For the third year in a row, Holiday World's Voyage roller coaster has been named the No. 1 wooden coaster in the world while its new Pilgrims Plunge water ride tied for fifth in the "best new amusement park ride" category.

The announcement was made Thursday night by the trade journal Amusement Today during the industry's annual "best of the best" Golden Ticket Awards ceremony at Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif.

The 1.2-mile Voyage is the Southern Indiana theme park's longest, tallest and fastest coaster, known for its 24.2 seconds of "air time" — time in which passengers are lifted from their seat.

For the 10th straight year, Holiday World was named the country's cleanest park, outranking Disney World, Kings Island, Dollywood and Cedar Point. However, it came in second in the friendliest park category that it has won in the past.

Holiday World spokeswoman Paula Werne said Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., "squeaked by" Holiday World as the friendliest park "and we congratulate them."

Splashin' Safari remained the No. 2 water park behind perennial winner Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, Texas. Holiday World's ZOOMbabwe water slide was voted second-best water park ride.

'Incredible honor'

Holiday World President Will Koch called the Voyage's top ranking an "incredible honor" because there are so many "amazing roller coasters around the world."

Pilgrims Plunge, the world's tallest water ride, opened last May to much fanfare, but Werne said it was competing against "some great new roller coasters" for the best new ride title.

The awards and rankings are based on surveys of theme park customers.

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari is closed this weekend, but it will reopen for weekends only from Sept. 19 to Oct. 11.


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 02 2009

Holiday World’s top-ranked wooden roller coaster, The Voyage, will be featured Wednesday night as part of The Travel Channel’s “Extreme” series.

The show will repeat on Friday and Sunday.

The one-hour episode, called “Extreme Terror Rides,” will premiere Wednesday at 7 p.m. CDT. The show will feature top thrill rides from around the world. The Voyage is currently ranked the No. 1 Wooden Coaster on the Planet by Amusement Today magazine.

The show will air again at 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Sunday. The Travel Channel is Cable 59 on the Henderson Insight line-up


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 31 2009
Christmas will be a monthlong celebration this year in this Spencer County town famous for its name and gung-ho-ho spirit.

In past years activities were packed into one weekend.

“This is going to be the event we’ve always wanted but never had,” said Philip Koch, president of Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, coordinating the celebration with Kevin Klosowski of Santa’s Candy Castle.

Activities will begin Nov. 20.

A major addition will be a 1.2-mile “Family Christmas Light Adventure” light show at Lake Rudolph next to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari theme park.

Costing several hundred thousand dollars and telling the story of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, it will feature 35 scenes — each 20 to 30 feet tall — and is being custom built by Carpenter Decorating out of South Carolina.

“I always thought Santa Claus, Ind., should be celebrating Christmas in a tremendous way,” said Koch, “and last year on the Travel Channel I saw some other Bavarian communities (in Georgia and Oregon) that were doing a better job than we were.

“I found myself in the same position my grandfather (Evansville industrialist Louis J. Koch) was in in 1945 when he built Santa Claus Land here to give people something to do.”

Koch said he’s been told the light show will be the largest drive-through attraction of its kind at a campground in North America and the only one featuring an actual story line.

It will use energy-efficient LED lighting.

Plans also call for an illuminated Nativity scene, 23 feet high and 150 feet long, on the theme park’s parking lot — “kind of our gift to the community,” said Koch.

He said the campground 35 miles east of Evansville will involve charities in the light show and charge admission.

Visitors will have the option of staying in their car or renting a golf cart, according to Dave Lovell, marketing director at Lake Rudolph.

Other events during the town’s celebration will include a Nov. 20 tree lighting ceremony, a pre-Christmas dinner at Santa’s Lodge, a puppet show, Christmas Karaoke every Friday and Saturday, an early December parade and contests ranging from Christmas tree decorating and fruit cake eating to gingerbread house building.

Besides the lights at Lake Rudolph, the annual Festival of Lights tour of homes will continue the second and third Saturdays of December in nearby Christmas Lake Village.

There also will be chestnut roasting and performances by area choirs at the Candy Castle, a possible weekend craft show at Lake Rudolph and a wine tasting at Christmas Lake Golf Course.

Koch is asking charities and other organizations interested in running food booths or having entertainment to call (812) 224-1790.

“We want to help everyone in town,” Koch said, “churches, schools, charities, businesses and individuals. We want families to come here and create wonderful memories, to make people happy, raise money for charities and businesses and grow the town of Santa Claus.”

Meanwhile, Koch (three of his siblings own the adjacent theme park) expects to open the new Santa Claus Christmas Store by Labor Day in Kringle Place shopping center here. It’s being developed by his Santa Claus-based HO HO HOldings, which owns the campground.

It’s described as the largest store of its kind in the region and will carry gift items, indoor and outdoor Christmas lights, wreaths, tree trimmings, nativities, Christmas yard art, home decor, collectibles, candy and cookies.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas children can have their picture taken with St. Nick.

Koch says his goal is to make the town of 2,000 “synonymous with Santa Claus” and “attract people from all over the world to Santa Claus, Ind., no matter the season.”


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 07:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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