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A 1950s California Christmas Theme Park Reopens After Almost 20 Years

A 1950s-era winter wonderland in Skyforest, California has reopened its doors after nearly 20 years, allowing visitors to enjoy the magic of the holiday season while also basking in the nostalgia of times gone by.

Once known simply as Santa’s Village, Skypark at Santa’s Village opened on the first of December for the first time since 1998, when it closed due to bankruptcy. Today, the park features restored original attractions like a giant Christmas tree and a parade along the park’s Candy Cane Lane.

All the park’s buildings were constructed in 1955, and they include a restaurant with an electric train that chugs over diner’s heads and a chapel where visitors can book holiday weddings.

The park was the brainchild of developer Glen Holland, known as “the Walt Disney of the village.”

“Holland grew up during the Great Depression in Southern California,” said Davey Marvich, the park’s training and development coordinator, “so his reality of Christmas was a lot more different to what he saw in the papers or heard on the radio.”

Marvich said that since the Christmases of Holland's childhood were less-than-ideal, he made it his mission to give his children the most elaborate holiday celebrations possible.  

“He believed in creating a world away from our own,” said Marvich.

Some of the park’s modern touches include a Polar Express Train Ride, Santa’s Candy Mine (where you can mine your own candy), and Santa’s Workshop and North Pole Post Office, where you can observe Santa’s elves hard at work and make your own ornaments. At night, carolers and storytellers patrol the park, and every employee has an elf name and back story that they’re ready to share with anyone who will listen.  

Of course, the park’s most iconic element from the 1950s – the giant candy cane at the front of the parking lot – still stands.  

“As people drove by all those years, this candy cane was one of the only parts that remained,” said Marvich.

“It was like the last beacon of hope that this place could exist again one day.”

h/t Travel and Leisure.

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