Santa’s Land owners calling it quits at month’s end

Posted Dec. 06, 2011, at 5:35 a.m.
Last modified Dec. 06, 2011, at 9:16 a.m.

PUTNEY, Vt. — Santa’s Land will close its doors for good later this month after 54 years in business.

Timothy and Leslie Wells purchased the year-round, Christmas-themed park seven years ago, making improvements and increasing the park’s attendance, the couple said.

But when gas prices topped $4 per gallon four years ago, out-of-state business declined and never recovered, the couple said.

After considering closing the park last year, the couple decided to give it one last shot, reducing admission rates and trimming the schedule, but it wasn’t enough to keep the park going, they said.

Burglaries and vandalism compounded the park’s problems.

Jack Poppele opened the park Aug. 10, 1957, welcoming guests at a cost of 19 cents per person, according to the park’s website.

Poppele, along with his daughter, managed the park until 1970, when it was sold to a local family who would manage it for the next 30 years, according to the website.

The current owners hope to entertain offers that involve keeping the park open, they said.

The couples’ attempts to get financial assistance through historic preservation efforts were unsuccessful, they said.

The park is open this weekend and next, with its final day of business scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 18.

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(c)2011 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

Visit The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.) at www.sentinelsource.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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