SCHERERVILLE — The retailpocalypse has left the Region and the country littered with empty big-box stores in otherwise prosperous communities.
In Schererville, Santa's coming to the rescue.
A Santa’s Winter Wonderland interactive pop-up is taking over the former Ashley Furniture HomeStore at 1516 Indianapolis Blvd. The 60,000-square-foot building was most recently home to a Spirit Halloween costume pop-up store.
The immersive Christmas photo op and interactive experience will feature "33 hand-painted, twinkling Christmas and winter-themed attractions," including a Santa vs. Grinch wrestling arena, a peek into Santa's office and a life-size ornament.
Guests can write a letter to Santa and climb up to the North Pole Post Office, or peruse a holiday gift shop "with unique vintage finds." There are bounce houses for kids and ax-throwing for adults.
"Each installation is a work of art, with exciting activities and Instagram-worthy photo-opportunities, perfect for all ages," organizers said in a news release. "This holiday-themed attraction is perfect for one-of-a kind holiday parties, celebrations and corporate events."
Neighboring Ciao Bella Ristorante will furnish food that will be available for purchase, including with hand-made chocolates and treats. A 21-and-older lounge was supposed to offer beer and signature craft cocktails, but the state denied organizers a liquor license on Monday, forcing them to refund drink tickets that had been sold in advance.
The attraction opens Thursday and runs through Jan. 31. It will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. After 10 p.m., admission is restricted to those 21 and older.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for teens and $10 for kids 12 and younger.
For more information, visit www.SantasWinterWonderland219.com.