Santa made a grand entrance in a helicopter – a posh upgrade from his usual sleigh. Hundreds of adoring children welcomed him in the parking lot. Another popular attraction this year was a robotic Toy Soldier that marched up and down the corridors of NorthPark.
The Candy Santa and Pecan Reindeer made their debut. Santa and his sleigh sat on a bed of snow, which many visitors assumed was sugar. After a taste, many were quite surprised to learn that it was salt!
Prior to NorthPark Gold, “NorthPark Green Stuff” was sold around the holidays as a packet of gift certificates that could be used at any NorthPark retailer.
A new attraction for this year was a 10-foot-tall Hansel & Gretel gingerbread cottage, comprised of 75 bushels of popcorn, 12,500 lollipops, 14,200 pecans, 8,250 almonds, 360 pounds of candy, 20 pounds of glue and one wicked witch.
To up the ante from 1965, Santa arrived in a psychedelic plane with Rudolph as his co-pilot. The plane was a real 1948 Aeronca Chief single engine, flown in from New Mexico. It hung from the ceiling outside JC Penney.
This year’s theme was “Christmas on Parade,” which consisted of eight floats that lined the half-mile long corridors of the shopping center. Float themes included Santa’s Castle, Christmas Carol, the Snow Queen, Christmas Fairies and The Night Before Christmas. The intricate floats included decorations and figures collected from around the world, such as a reconditioned sleigh from 1850.
NorthPark Gold was introduced as simple $5 coins that could be used like cash at any store. The coins are still a coveted gift item today and are available for purchase at the NorthPark Concierge.
The theme for 1969 was “Nature Fantasy.” Live animals, including otters, penguins and reindeer made themselves at home in specially crafted zoo-like environments. A spectacular display of seasonal flowers added to the festive decor.