Great news for nostalgic fans of the long-gone Santa’s Village out near Big Bear: This Christmas you’ll once again be able to meet the bearded man himself, and take home some sweet treats from The Gingerbread House (formerly known as the Good Witch's Bakery) to boot.
According to multiple news outlets that have been following along rather closely, it seems that for the first time in almost two decades Santa’s Village in Skyforest will come back to life as a working wonderland for children of all ages. Despite some timeline issues and scheduling snafus — after all, it takes a lot to bring an abandoned park high up in the mountains back to life — ownership tells ABC 7 that they absolutely will be reopening within the 2016 calendar year, just in time for Christmas.
For those unfamiliar with Santa’s Village, take a gander at the below old school commercial from 1984, showing off the park’s twelve rides, varying array of food options, and meet-and-greet Santa opportunities. The place even apparently spawned some other locations nationally, though the San Bernardino Mountains location closed in 1998.
Santa’s Village first opened in 1955, and was a hit for decades with children looking to get a dose of Christmas time, despite the sometimes warm Southern California winters. The Good Witch’s Bakery and a smaller Pixie Pantry made up the two primary dining options at the 153-acre park, with the bakery putting out holiday-tinged treats like gingerbread cookies and the like. Now with plans to return, ownership says the focus for the bakery will remain the same, but with updated expectations to meet a new kind of California clientele.
Ultimately only time will tell if Santa’s Village returns to its true former glory as a winter getaway for families, but for anyone around long enough to remember the place when it was still in business the first go-round, the return of the Village and The Gingerbread House should provide a burst of wondrous possibility as the state heads towards what will likely be another warm, dry winter.
Update: The developer of Santa's Village writes in to say they'll actually be changing the name of the Good Witch's Bakery to The Gingerbread House. The change is reflected above.