History of Santa's Village
Jefferson, NH
"A New England Family Tradition"

 
The early 1950's brought the nation into a whole new economy.  The great depression was over, and many young couples were having babies, building homes, and buying that first automobile.  At that time, amusement parks were not considered "respectable" ventures.  Most parks were carnival-like in nature; and no self-respecting businessman or woman would dare risk an already successful business for an amusement park.
 
Normand and Cecile Dubois were not typical business people.  They had moved into nearby Lancaster and established a successful dry cleaning business in 1940.  By the early '50's they envisioned something unique to the area--a family amusement park.  They also recognized the beauty of Jefferson--especially a sixteen acre piece of land occupied by a grove of fir trees and owned by Ken Reed.  As they drove past the land with their daughter, Elaine, a young fawn jumped out of the woods into the road in front of their car.  When Elaine asked what that was, her dad told her it was one of Santa's Reindeer.
 
These people did not believe in coincidence.  It had to be fate that a Christmas theme park should rest on that parcel of land.  It wasn't long after they signed the papers on Ken Reed's land that they began to construct the first buildings.  They opened the gates for the first guests on Father's Day, 1953.  That first year (with 15 Helpers and 5 buildings) brought families to have fun, see Santa and his reindeer in this serene little park.  Guests enjoyed this hospitality because the second year Santa's Village doubled in size.  Additions such as Santa's Schoolhouse, the Blacksmith Shop, Santa's Workshop and St. Nick's Chapel added to the festivities considerably.  Santa even decided to include a ride--one Shetland pony.  The third year brought the village its first show.  Some of our guests well-remember Louie Samson coaxing Francis the mule to drink oats from a whiskey bottle.  With every season came new additions to the park.  The Dubois' determination along with community support has made Santa's Village an enjoyable attraction in Jefferson.
 
In 1969, a new generation of Dubois continued the tradition.  Son Paul along with son-in-law Mike Gainer teamed as new managers.  By then, Santa had installed three metal rides and hosted live entertainment in the form of a chicken and rabbit dancing on stage.  The altar from All Saint's Catholic Church in Lancaster was graciously given to be preserved in St. Nick's Chapel.  Guests were now enjoying hours of safe, family fun which meant offering a variety of new services.  Playgrounds, food shops and the electro-animated "Jingle Jamboree" were soon to follow.  Santa had officially entered the technological age!  Shortly, thereafter, more land was purchased for necessary expansion and additional parking.
 
The 1980's brought more developments as rides like the Yule Log Flume and Rudy's Rapid Transit Coaster were installed.  Santa also acquired trained macaws that would ride bikes on a tightrope and roller-skate across the stage.  Change was not always easy, however.  In 1986, Normand Dubois passed away.  Only 4 years later, son Paul lost his life in an auto accident.  These losses have deeply affected the family, but efforts to keep their dreams alive continue.  Although she claims to have retired, Cecile can still be found working daily throughout the summer season.
 
Santa has had thousands of "Helpers" who have been an addition to the family over the years.  It is those people who have contributed to the reputation of the park today.  The goal is to bring families together to enJOY a great day.  Santa's Helpers are the hosts who entertain thousands of guests everyday.  It takes an outgoing personality along with a sense of northern New Hampshire hospitality to create this JOY.  Santa would not have been successful in Jefferson for 50 years if it weren't for his Helpers.
 
As recently as 1993 the Skyway Sleigh monorail (engineered and built by O.D. Hopkins) was installed; and in 1994 Santa's Volunteer Fire Department.  Santa's North Pole Workshop, Arcade and Polar Theater were built in 1997.  It was that year that Santa began a new tradition of opening during Christmas time.  This new season became an immediate hit--even for our local guests.  Mr. and Mrs. Claus greet thousands during a time of cozy, festive lights, beautiful shows and exciting rides--all during the Christmas season!
 
The new millennium has welcomed the third generation into park management.  Grand children Christian Gainer (and wife, Pam), and Melanie Staley (with husband Nick) have been passed the torch.  This team is also committed to providing the JOY to all who enter the park.  Growth in the park has continued with the "Reindeer Rendezvous" in 2005.  Here, guests can learn about, feed and pet Santa's Reindeer.  The fun also includes the Reindeer Games in 2006.  Children can participate in the skills it takes Santa's Reindeer to fly!  
 
Change is guaranteed; however, the basic philosophy has remained.  This is not a "metal park" of just rides and carnival games.  Rather, it is a village where participatory shows, activities and "good family fun" are encouraged.  We believe it reflects the culture of New Hampshire's White Mountains.  This is not a region of hurried people; it is a beautiful place where families enJOY the good life together.

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Copyright 2006 Santa's Village
Printed here with permission from Santa's Village