THE REAL ELVES OF BUSCH GARDENS’ CHRISTMAS TOWN™

 

Christmas Town Opens Today

 

WILLIAMSBURG (November 18, 2013) – All throughout Busch Gardens®, hundreds of “elves” are scurrying to prepare the park for Christmas Town™, which opens Friday, Nov. 22.  They may not have pointy ears and jingle bells on their feet like the elves recently featured in the #sELFies hashtag on the park’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels, but their work is equally as important.

 

In late October, Busch Gardens wrapped up its annual Howl-O-Scream event and now the park has taken on a stunning new look for the holidays. Teams of fast-paced “elves” began illuminating the park’s 300 acres of holiday fun. Down came the spider webs and pumpkins and in their place, park employees  began assembling  more than six million lights, hundreds of wreathes, garlands and lighted trees, including O Tannenbaum, a fifty-foot tree whose  many twinkling lights dance in time to music.  From big changes to tiny details, it takes help from all park teams to get Busch Gardens into the holiday spirit.

Shops full of toys for good girls and boys start to sparkle with a little “magic” from the Merchandising team, including Assistant Visual Merchandiser Allison Duncan. Duncan, who recently moved to Virginia from North Carolina, is directing a team who is in charge of store decorations in the England, Italy, Scotland and New France areas of the park.

 

“It’s my first time at Christmas Town so I don’t know what to expect,” said Duncan, “but I think our team’s done a good job executing the designs we’ve developed .”

 

Some stores, like the Emporium shop will be getting yuletide makeovers. “This year it’s going to be very Victorian and just gorgeous,” said Duncan, hinting that the store is likely to be her favorite and a hit with guests as well.

 

In the bakery, the culinary teams are preparing to bake cookies for Santa as well as park guests who will visit Christmas Town.

 

“We’re doing a whole lot of cake and baked goods testing,” said Durell Council, a supervisor at the bakery. “We have new menus in our restaurants and Christmas Town breads and cakes to prepare.”

 

Along with gingerbread cookies, snowman cupcakes and red velvet cake, guests visiting Christmas Town will be able to satisfy their sweet tooth with a new Black Forest cake dripping with chocolate ganache and topped with a chocolate-covered cherry.

 

For Maria Rubino, an entertainment technician from New York working on the installation of Christmas Town, a day’s work may require hanging wreaths and stringing garland or checking light bulbs on Big Ben.

 

“During Christmas Town I also maintain the lights by walking through the park troubleshooting and repairing decorations,” said Rubino, “so I get to see Christmas Town from a guest perspective too.”

 

Rubino said she is most looking forward to guest’s reactions to the holiday celebration, “because as fun as it is putting up all these decorations, I love the reactions from people when they see everything, especially the kids.”

 

“I’m so happy to be here now working with this team,” said Rubino, “because we really do feel like little elves.”

 

Allison Duncan, Durell Council and Maria Rubino represent the hundreds of the team members involved in transforming the scares of Howl-O-Scream into the winter wonderland of Christmas Town.  The lights of Christmas Town turn on Nov. 22 and twinkle select days through Dec 31.

Pay for a day and enjoy unlimited access to the holiday celebration with a Christmas Town Fun Card.  For more information, including a complete operating schedule, visit www.christmastown.com/va.

RL: Broken Dolls

AFM Reading List

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for the sole purpose of this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Broken Dolls by BR Kingsolver

Private investigator RB Kendrick makes her living nailing cheating spouses, digging up other dirt to help in a divorce, finding long-lost relatives, and occasionally sniffing out criminal activity and fraud.

When she takes a job to find a missing girl, she has no idea she is headed for the most dangerous case of her career. Usually, her ability to read minds gives her an edge. But when the people she’s hunting are also telepaths, that advantage is limited.

The search takes her into the dark underbelly of telepathic society, where anything, and anyone, is for sale. She discovers that telepathic women and girls are being trafficked as the ultimate sex slaves.

With people trying to kill her, she’s on the run, not knowing who she can trust. Will she find the missing girl, or become a victim herself?

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About the Author:

I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, and somehow found a career working with computers.

I love the outdoors, especially the Rocky Mountains. I’ve skied since high school, with one broken leg and one torn ACL to show for it. I’ve hiked and camped all my life. I love to travel, though I haven’t done enough of it. I’ve seen a lot of Russia and Mexico, not enough of England and France. Amsterdam is amazing, and the Romanian Alps are breathtaking. Lake Tahoe is a favorite.

I have a very significant other, two cats and two Basset Hounds. I’m currently living in Baltimore, nine blocks from the harbor, but still own a home in New Mexico.

Follow BR Kingsolver on FaceBook | Twitter | Website | Goodreads

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My Review

I will honestly have to say that I love everything about the book. But my favorite part was the title, Broken Dolls. I love how the author compared the young women and men that are coerced into selling their body as broken dolls. They are searching for something and someone to love them and they think they have no other choice but to sell themselves . They are so broken that they cannot find anything to fix it for them, so they fill the void with material things, people who think of them as possessions and endless sex with multiple people not concerning themselves with the consequences of their actions. I love how the main character RB is a product of an affair even those her mom is present in her life, her father is not. She can identify with how needy these young children are and in a sense it becomes her mission to save them.

I love the vast array of characters that she encounters during her search for one particular “broken doll”. The journey she takes keep the reader involved and more invested as we find out more about RB and all her abilities.  This is a must read book for anyone who loves suspense novels.

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