When Pete Herschend and his brother Jack (whose family founded Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., in 1960) started their Old Time Christmas back in 1988, it was on a lark.
“We called it the 12 Days of Christmas, and honestly we weren’t at all sure anyone would show up,” Pete Herschend said. “But we thought it sounded good, and we knew it could be good. And lo and behold, a lot of them showed up. There are some families who started coming in 1988 and they have been back every year.”
One recent visitor was Noel Perkin, a Springfield, Mo., native who visited the park as a little girl, worked there in the ’80s, and now takes her 6-year-old son, Drew, every Christmas. “It was magical then and it’s magical now,” she said.
This year’s 20th-anniversary celebration includes more than four million lights spread across the park’s 40 acres, a handful of Christian-themed shows, a Frosty the Snowman musical, a steam train, a five-story special effects-laden Christmas tree and — when the weather holds out — a few impressive roller coasters from which one can soak in all those lights.
This season also marks the premiere of the park’s culinary school, where guests can make cookies, pies and holiday stews.
Information courtesy of New York Times