By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Christmas is a magical time at SkyPark at Santa’s Village. The season began on Nov. 21 and will continue through Jan. 10.
As visitors enter the park, they are greeted by Gummdrop the Concierge Elf, who encourages them to make a reservation to see Santa at his house. Visits are by reservation only this year and they fill up quickly.
Armed with a schedule of special holiday events, visitors can then visit with the Northwoods characters like King Celwyn, Queen Wysdom, Princess Evergreen, Princess Kandy Sugarplum, CJ Kuffelbug, Frosty the Snowman, Comet the Reindeer, the Gingerbread Men and many others.
King Celwyn and CJ Kuffelbug can also be found in the Sky Pavilion, telling Stories of the Northwoods. The king is Santa Claus’ younger brother and CJ Kuffelbug is the keeper of Santa’s magic key. What is it used for?
“Not every house has a chimney,” she explained to the boys and girls. “This magic heart-shaped key can transform itself to unlock any door.”
The two told the story of how Arrow – the fluffy white dog that can sometimes be spotted in the park – became best friends with Santa Claus.
The two, the king and CJ explained, met in the Meadowlands. And what happened next? Come hear for yourself!
The king and CJ also warned that Jack Frost has been after the magic key as he wants to ruin Christmas.
After telling the story, King Celwyn knighted the audience members as Knights of the Northwoods. They must, he said, display courage, patience and adventure.
The king’s consort, Queen Wysdom, introduced the puppet show, “An Elf’s Life for Me.”
“Did you have a good Christmas last year?” she asked. “That’s because Jack Frost didn’t ruin it for you.” With that, the puppet show began.
The story was that production in Santa’s workshop had fallen behind so Santa decided he needed to hire new worker elves. Who shows up to apply? You guessed it – Jack Frost, claiming to have mended his ways. He creates a gift wrap automaton but his evil trick is foiled and Christmas is once again saved.
At the conclusion of the show, Queen Wysdom invited the youngsters to come forward and meet the puppets and the humans behind them.
Drawing a huge crowd is Wacko the Magician with his astounding tricks. As he floated a table above the stage, one boy called out, “It’s flying!”
Wacko then brought out his five silver rings, a trick he said is ancient – more than 1,000 years old – followed by a ropes trick. He told the audience he started doing magic when he was 9 and has been doing the ropes trick since he was 15.
Wacko called an audience member up to help with one of his last tricks. Seven-year-old Scarlett manipulated a Rubik’s cube while Wacko manipulated a second one behind his back. When he held the two up, each side was exactly the same.
His final trick – where he squeezed playing cards into ever-smaller sizes – is the trick that inspired him to be a magician. By the end, they turned into confetti, which he blew off his hand.
Wacko said he changes the show a little every week so audiences do not see the same exact show time after time. “By the end of the season,” he said, “it will be a completely different show.”
When SkyPark at Santa’s Village guests are not at a show, they can be ice skating, zooming down the zipline, climbing the Frozen Falls tower, creating a craft at Santa’s Workshop, pedaling the cars around Arrow’s Adventure, riding the train, decorating cookies, mining for gold or enjoying a meal at one of the three restaurants or hot chocolate and a cookie.
Reservations are a must this season, even for season pass holders (for whom there is no additional charge), because of COVID-19 restrictions. Visit the website – www.skyparksantasvillage.com – and choose the date and time you would like to go.