Over the last 20 plus years, Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas® has become one of the most beloved and acclaimed holiday festivals in the United States. In fact, it’s been profiled as one of the nation’s top holiday celebrations by a number of publications and news programs.
So, do you ever wonder what happens behind the scenes that makes Silver Dollar City come to life during Christmas? As it turns out — quite a lot! We went behind the scenes of three of Silver Dollar City’s biggest productions during An Old Time Christmas and discovered some of what it takes to bring the magic of Christmas to the City.
In its 14th year of production, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is one of the most beloved shows to ever come to Silver Dollar City. During its run, nearly 1.5 million guests have experienced this unique adaption of the famous classic novel by Charles Dickens.
Rachel Wallace, who has portrayed Christmas Present in the show since 2006, says it’s a honor to be a part of. “I believe it has become a holiday tradition for many of our guests,” she said.
Rachel says while it’s difficult to choose her favorite moment in the show, one in particular does stand out. “I’ve always loved Scrooge's redemption scene in the graveyard,” she said. It’s powerful, touching and the moment we know he has changed.”
The 15 seasoned actors that bring A Dickens’ Christmas Carol to stage are accompanied by a live band, exquisite period costuming and astounding special effects.
This classic story centered around the lost George Bailey and his guardian angel, Clarence, quickly became a hit with guests of Silver Dollar City when it debuted in 2012 and has also become a holiday tradition for many. Just recently, It’s A Wonderful Life celebrated its 500th performance and has been seen by nearly 500,000 people.
Kevin Day, who has played Clarence for five years, says he has wonderful memories of being in the production.
“First, I enjoy the warm ups at the beginning of the day and have profound respect for each performer, and what it takes to prepare for the performance each day,” Kevin said. “Second, during the show, when my character is on the bridge with George singing “I’m All Alone,“ I realize that Clarence is George’s last hope and it’s a very sobering and emotional moment of the show. Third, the finale of the show with the entire cast on stage, when I am able to reflect and connect with the audience and the message we are bringing to them.”
Along with its cast of 14 performers, it also takes a crew of eight technicians, four costumers and six ushers to bring the musical to life. And it takes 180 pounds of dry ice and two 1,000 pound tanks of liquid nitrogen daily for the show’s amazing special effects!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™ leads Rudolph's Holly Jolly™ Christmas Parade through Silver Dollar City twice an evening, delighting children who line the streets of the City. Nine musical, lighted floats, illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights, were designed exclusively for Silver Dollar City. The parade also features 33 colorful costumed characters.
Patti Vogel of Parkville, Missouri, has been bringing her 7-year-old daughter, Claire, to An Old Time Christmas® since she was born.
“We’ve just made it a family tradition,” said Patti. “Rudolph’s parade has become Claire’s favorite and the last time we visited, she insisted on seeing it twice!”
It takes more than 60 personnel to orchestrate the parade, along with planning and preparation that begins in the summer months.
Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas® runs select days through December 30.