Santa Cruise offers fun new way to see holiday light displays

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  • BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    BDN file photo Those waiting to board the Santa Cruise can look at decorated Christmas trees to help raise money for charity.

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    BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    Photo provided The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    Photo providedThe Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights on Lake Geneva in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

  • BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    BDN file photo Those waiting to board the Santa Cruise can look at decorated Christmas trees to help raise money for charity.

  • 3

    BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    BDN file photo The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    Photo provided The Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

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    Photo providedThe Santa Cruise offers families a unique way to look at Christmas lights on Lake Geneva in Williams Bay, Wisconsin.

WILLIAMS BAY - When he's not overseeing toy production and making deliveries around the world, Santa needs a place to relax.

Lucky for Stateline Area residents, the big man's favorite vacation spot is nestled nearby, right on the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva.

"This area is Santa's hideaway," said Bill Gage, of Gage Marine in Williams Bay.

Kids and adults alike will enjoy taking a peek at Santa's retreat while on the Santa Cruise, a 40-minute-long holiday lighted boat tour on the lake.

The Santa Cruise, which is celebrating its third year with help from Lake Geneva Cruise Line, departs Gage Marine, 1 Liechty Drive, Williams Bay, through Dec. 31.

During the boat tour a fun story is told and families can look at more than 20 giant light displays nestled on the shoreline.

"This year we've added even more lights," Gage said. "My team really feels pride when families say the Santa Cruise is now a tradition of theirs."

In addition to offering families a unique way to see Christmas lights, the Santa Cruise's accompanying Santa Cause hall of decorated trees helps out area charities.

"When we started the Santa Cruise we wanted to mix a boat tour and charity together," Gage said. "We've turned our boat barn into the Christmas Tree Festival Hall."

In the Festival Hall, those who are waiting to board the Santa Cruise can look at beautiful trees. Under each tree are a variety of prizes that patrons can try to win.

"The charities have set up each of their themed trees and there are lots of gifts under them," Gage said.

During its inaugural year, the Santa Cruise and Santa Cause saw approximately 6,000 visitors. Last year over 14,000 people stopped by. This year's goal is to hit 20,000.

Tickets to the Santa Cruise are $18 for adults and $9 for children when purchased for weekday cruises departing at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Cruises depart at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There are cruises at 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sundays. Weekend cruise tickets are $28 for adults and $18 for children.

Adults-only cruises are at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. A special "naughty or nice" tour with a holiday sing-a-long and John Ludy will take place on Dec. 21 and 29. No cruises take place Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

"I think it's important that in an age where everything is speeding up, families take some time to slow down a little bit," Gage said. "Santa Cruise is a good opportunity to enjoy an hour or two with family and have a little bit of magic back in the holidays."

For more information on the Santa Cruise, visit www.lakegenevasantacruise.com or 'Like' Lake Geneva Santa Cruise on Facebook. Tickets for the event can be purchased online.

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