Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
May 24, 2009
The Covenant Community Church wants to make every day Christmas, at least within an air-conditioned warehouse in Florida. The congregation has started a fundraising drive to build an elaborate, year-round, indoor holiday attraction that will cater to terminally ill children and their families.
If all goes well, the Santa-themed environment will be built on piece of property near a power plant in Christmas, Florida (east of Orlando). After arriving via conventional airline, visitors will enter a “portal” and be transported to a completely self-contained theme park complete with dining facilities and three-bedroom guest chalets. Trips will be gratis, including airfare. At least that’s the well-intentioned plan.
Elaborate renderings are available for viewing at the My Christmas Dreams website (2015: no longer online). You can also watch “Imagine”, a video that effectively uses the metaphor of a shattered snow globe to shake you up. If you want to know more — much, much more — visit this page at the church website where you can watch a nearly hour-long presentation from shaggy-headed pastor Jeff Dixon that goes into extreme detail about animatronic show experiences and sleigh flying lessons. He does not shy away from using the phrase “branding opportunities”.
The church has partnered with the “globally-integrated event marketing agency” Sparks. And Huey Magoo’s Chicken Tenders restaurant recently donated 20 percent of their opening day sales to the cause. But they hope that a flood of supporter donations will make up the bulk of the budget. Individual “memorial bricks”, to be used to pave Santa Claus Lane, are available for a $1,000 donation.
Until their vast charitable vision is realized, you can visit these commercial, profit-taking Christmas theme parks if you fancy a sitting-on-Santa’s-sweaty-lap-in-July opportunity: Santa’s Workshop (Wilmington, New York), North Pole Santa’s Workshop (Cascade, Colorado), Santa’s Land Theme Park (Cherokee, North Carolina), and Santa’s Land USA (Putney, Vermont).
If you want to visit in the chillier months, check their schedules, though, because most of them are (ironically) closed for the winter. [Post by Anne D. Bernstein]