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Wednesday, July 3, 2013 04:22 pm

Visit Santa Claus in July

Illinois Performers shake up Holiday World

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Trevor May and Amy Pfluger after a performance.
PHOTO BY CINDY LADAGE

Holiday World is located in Santa Claus, Ind., in the southern part of the state east of Evansville, about four hours from Springfield. In Santa Claus it’s all about Christmas. Oh and about Halloween and Fourth of July, but mostly Christmas. The park was the first themed park in the United States, created by Louis J. Koch because he worried about children coming to Santa Claus, Ind., and not finding the jolly old elf. To remedy this, he created Santa Land in August of 1946. While the park began with a toy shop, toy displays, themed children’s rides, a restaurant and, of course, Santa, today it has expanded into Holiday World and includes a wide array of entertainment along with some young top Illinois entertainers.

The musical shows run from gospel and pop to country. Two Illinois entertainers from different parts of the state make up two of the four stars of the Christian musical production Rejoice! Amy Pfluger hails from Aurora and Trevor May from Dundas, which he said is “near Olney, the home of the white squirrels.”

Amy is a senior at Belmont University in Tennessee. “They had auditions and I figured this would be great,” she said. “It is a bit closer to home.”

While this is Amy’s first year and first time being a part of Holiday World, Trevor is just 18, but an old hand at the theme park. “I have been coming here since I was five years old. I always said I wanted to perform here. Last year was my first year. It is a great place to work.”

Performing three shows a day, six days a week, allows these young performers to receive plenty of performance experience. With wonderful voices full of talent, their future is already off to a good start. “I would like to continue in Christian music,” Amy said. “This has been a great experience. I would also like to teach music someday. I love that they put Christ in everything.”

With graduation on the horizon, Amy’s eyes are trained to the future. Just graduating from high school, Trevor is setting his sights too, but still has some decisions to make. “I want to perform, but I haven’t figured it out yet.”

He plans to attend junior college in Vincennes, Ind.

Holiday World offers a great opportunity for young men and women to get their feet wet in a comfortable environment. “It is family friendly here,” Amy said.

A long way from the Chicago suburbs, the only thing in this area of southern Indiana is Holiday World and the small town of Santa Claus. But Amy said she is enjoying living there. “I live in the cast house on a hill and enjoy the quiet of the place and the rolling hills.”

Trevor is grateful for the chance to live his dream. Living with a family in Santa Claus, he is counting his blessings. “I am from a town of 200. There are many people from rural areas who don’t have the opportunity to do things like this.”

Chicagoan Robert Sharkey performs in the oh-so-groovy 80’s Rewind. This dynamic young man had planned to be a performer, he said, “since kindergarten.”

A student at Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green, Robert is a senior. He is making plans “to keep performing.”

Robert is a returning pro who has been part of the Holiday World entertainment lineup for the past four summers. “They treat us like family,” Robert says.

Although it is located in the corn and wheat fields of southern Indiana, this amazing theme park that offers more than 100 acres of rides, shows, games and attractions has a bit of Illinois talent as well. Louis J. Koch started Holiday World with the intent of making dreams come true for young children. Perhaps without realizing it, he also made dreams begin for many young men and women as well. For more information on Holiday World, check out its website at http://www.holidayworld.com.

Cindy Ladage lives on a farm outside of Virden.

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