Experience the “holidays the Old West Way” at Old Tucson Studios for “Yuletide” through Saturday, Dec. 24. After experiencing record turnout of “Nightfall’s” comeback, this equally immersive experience invites visitors to step into an illuminated 1882 Tucson.
“It’s great to come and experience what a holiday looks like from an earlier time frame because there will be things that you recognize and things that you don’t,” said Erik Blair, the creative director of “Nightfall” and “Yuletide.”
The inaugural theme, which takes place during the early 1880s, celebrates the novelty of electricity, as it makes its way from the East Coast to the Southwest. “The ability to light the night and buildings is being called a revolution,” according to a statement. The timed-entry experience will include a prompt 28-foot Christmas tree lighting in Town Square at 6:10 p.m. nightly that celebrates the industrial achievement.
The experience will also bring back a real-life former Tucsonan, the affluent Royal A. Johnson. Old Tucson will have an in-house historian located at Shelton Hall to talk about movies, said Kristine “Kiki” Keefner, Old Tucson Studios’ general manager.
“We’re really creating something here that brings Old Tucson back and continues the history of this location and of its events in a way that people are going to recognize and appreciate,” Blair said.
The movie studio and theme park which was acquired by American Heritage Railways (AHR) from Pima County back in April, and operates Old Tucson Studios under the subsidiary corporation Old Tucson Entertainment LLC and has since looked forward to more immersive initiatives that include seasonal productions such as Nightfall and Yuletide.
“We have about 16 different things going on inside the park for families, depending on what you like,” Keefner said.
Holiday visitors can enjoy live productions, including a customized version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Yuletide carolers, a luminaria display, hayrides and train rides. Guests can also purchase Christmas trees from the tree lot. Children will have the opportunity to pen and mail their letters to Santa. Parents can send their naughty kids through the Krampus Koal Mine while nice kids can visit Santa and his elves in the Christmas Cove.
“We’re starting a tradition,” Keefner said. “It’s time to come in and have a little bit of Christmas magic.
Yuletide at Old Tucson Studios
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 25, to Saturday, Dec. 24; timed entries run from 4 to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Old Tucson, 201 S. Kinney Road, Tucson
COST: Tickets start at $45 for adults ages 12 and older; $40 children ages 5 to 11; free for children through age 4. Parking is $5