For nearly all of his adult life, Jim Yellig was known as “Santa” at Santa Claus Land (now Holiday World) in Santa Claus, IN and in parades and appearances around the country including television’s What’s My Line and To Tell the Truth and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Santa Jim’s daughter, Pat Koch, opened the Santa Claus Museum in 2006 to celebrate all things Santa. A year later, she and the museum staff began an effort to create an exhibit to honor her father and his contribution to the world of Santa. The Weber Group was commissioned to design and build the new exhibit which features a life-size recreation of Santa Jim, dressed in his original Santa suit, yak fur beard, and trademark holly leaf belt buckle. It also includes the original oil on canvas 15 foot wide by 9 foot tall mural from 1959 commissioned by the park by California artist Lee Sorenson. The permanent exhibit’s opening is timed to celebrate Santa Claus’s annual festival which will be held December 12 and 13, 2008.