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Lake Arrowhead's long-closed Santa's Village is set for a holiday comeback (UPDATED)

Brittany Martin

Update (11/21/16): The permits for Santa's Village have been approved and an opening date has been set! Starting on December 2 the festive fun will be flowing in Lake Arrowhead.

A visit to the park can include stops by a variety of themed cafes, bakeries and shops, visits to Santa's workshop, rides on the "Polar Express" train, an ice skating pond and other amusements and activities. The truly Christmas-obsessed can even stage a small wedding in the on-site chapel with Santa and Mrs. Claus in attendance. 

The hours, weather allowing, will be 10am to 8pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and closed on Christmas Day. Tickets can be booked online in advance and run from $49 to $59, though those under 3 or over 80 can enter for free. 

 Six weeks before Disneyland opened in 1955, California got another mid-century kitsch-fest of an amusement park, Santa’s Village. As the name implies, it was a winter wonderland of candy canes, faux-snow chalets and lots of holiday cheer. This winter, as the San Bernardino County Sun reports, a portion of the park is likely to reopen to entertain young and old alike. 

The Lake Arrowhead park has been closed since 1998. In 2014, new owners bought the 200-acre property with the intention of turning it into a new, year-round recreation area, but that project stalled out for a while and is still unlikely to move forward before at least 2017. For this winter, they have applied for a temporary use permit that would let them reopen through the holiday season

Authorities have to weigh in on environmental and other considerations before signing off, but it’s likely that the temporary permits will be approved and it will be ready to open in November. The team at Santa’s Village is already fixing the place up, bringing in a few modern elements and updating the structures to ADA compliance so even more people can enjoy the park’s attractions. For the most part, though, it will be the classic 1955 park that many locals knew and loved. 

“I can’t wait to welcome kids into Santa’s house for the first time in 18 years,” said Bill Priest, who played a Santa at the park before the 1998 closure and has already signed up to put the red suit back on when Santa’s Village reopens. 

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