From small beginnings, surrounded by Spencer County cornfields, Holiday World now celebrates 70 years of family history and memories.
Matt Eckert, President and CEO since 2000, says, “We have moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas bringing their kids and grandkids back to kind of relive those memories.”
Fourth generation owner Lauren Crosby also has memories of the park. “Growing up…this was basically my back yard. My mom would just drop us off in the afternoon and we’d run around,” she says.
Even Santa Claus himself was excited for the birthday celebration. “It’s wonderful here at he park just wonderful. You know after 70 years they just keep getting better and better.”.
Holiday World has a birthday plaza honoring 70 years with the original freedom train on display from when it opened in 1946.
What started as a small park in the middle of the cornfield, is now in its fourth generation of family ownership. Lauren Crosby grew up at the park and has watched it expand.
“When I was a child we added this water park and now my sister and I were a part of adding thunderbird.”
Her great-grandfather was Santa Claus many year ago and her parents met at Holiday World.
“They went on a few dates and the rest is history,” she says.
Not only has Holiday World created family history, it has impacted the economy as well, bringing more than 2,000 jobs to the area.
Eckert says he is proud of what the park has grown to be.
Following seven decades of furious expansion, Holiday World is now anything but small. The park has world class wooden coasters and the nation’s first launched wing coaster.
Eckert says, “We’ve kind of shown that we are small and want to make sure we have that small part feel. But we can compete with the best of them and we feel we are just as good as any other park.”