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Part 2 - My Fourth of July Vacation: A ride through the Midwest during that patriotic time of year. (Jerome A. Holst © 2005)

Continued from Page 1

Moving east on Highway 50, I stopped to check my map and noticed that just a few miles below Evansville, Indiana on Interstate 64, there was a town of Santa Claus, Indiana. This was just too much of a temptation, so I set my sights south and within a few hours I had entered Saint Nicholas country.

As I approached the town, I came across the Santa Claus Cemetery. Now was this were they laid to rest the faithful elves who manufactured Santa's toys? I took a stroll about the place looking for tiny little graves. I thought I'd find a grave stone that contained a message like "Here lies Little Tinkle, proud toymaker and friend to kids everywhere." Sadly, as much as I looked, I found no such marker and proceeded on my journey.

The resting place of Santa's dearly departed elves?

A few miles up the road, I discovered the town center. Every building in town is decorated with Christmas ornaments and standing prominently in front of the municipal building is a statue of Santa Claus. Surprisingly, as I walked across the street to get a better look, a real live deer, I kid you not, came scampering across the road and then ran away into a wooded area just down the street. This was one of those moments, when I cursed (shouldn't curse in Santa Claus town) but man, I was so mad that I didn't have my camera ready to snap a shot of the deer. I have since placed this story in my memoirs under my "one that got away" tales.

The base of the fiberglass statue reads: "Dedicated to the Children of the World in the Name of an Undying Love. Dec. 25, 1935 Carl A. Barrett

Founded in 1852, the town of Santa Claus used to called Santa Fe until a threat of legal action from another town in Indiana with the same name put pressure on the citizens of their competitor to change their name. Change they did, and the citizens' of Santa Claus have never regretted their decision. During the first or second week of December, the town celebrates the "Christmas in Santa Claus and the (14 mile) Festival of Lights" annual event.

The post office in Santa Claus handles over 200,000 letters during the Christmas Season from people who want their letters post marked from this yuletide community. Located on Highway 162, the Santa Claus post office is the only post office in the world to carry that name.

Many of the letter addressed to Santa Claus by children all over the country are sent to the Santa Claus, Indiana post office. A local volunteer group called Santa's Elves try to answer as many of the letters which are addressed to the likes of Mr. Claus, Kris Kringle and of course, Santa Claus.

Santa Claus stands ready in the front of the town's Post Office

Local real estate sites in Santa Claus (zip code 47579) includes Christmas Boulevard, Kringle Place Boulevard, Candy Cane Lane, Mistletoe Drive, Christmas Lake Village and Golf Course, Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, Santa's Lodge and Holiday Village.

Down the road, the local 100 acres theme park called Holiday World and Splashin' Safari (formerly Santa Claus Land - opened August 3, 1946) attracts thousands of tourists each years. Located at the junction of highway 162 and 245 in Santa Claus, Indiana, the park features a Santa's Storytime where Santa Claus reads stories and sings songs of Christmas to children of all ages.

There is also a forty ton, twenty-two foot high concrete Santa Claus statue located on a hill off of Highway 245 near the Holiday World Amusement Park. The fiberglass statue in the town center was based on this statue which was erected in 1935.

The local shopping center in Santa Claus where all
the stores flaunt Christmas decorations year round

Continued >


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