Castle Noel Offers New Christmas Themed Attractions
The spirit of Christmas, and decorating for the holiday has been in Mark Klaus’ blood since his youth in Seven Hills. It’s not surprising then that the Normandy High School graduate parlayed the purchase of a church, a school and two storefronts in Medina into Castle Noel, an enterprise he calls “America’s Largest Indoor, Year ‘Round Christmas Entertainment Attraction.” “Our home was a Christmas wonderland,” Klaus said. (Klaus sounds like “Claus,” as in "Santa.") “We always had ornaments in the ceiling and Santa flying over the house.”
Guests visiting Castle Noel currently enjoy several past seasons of Christmas collections. A new attraction for this season is the Yeti, all 800 pounds of him and fully animatronic. He’s better know as Bumble (the Abominable Snowman) from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “He’s a new family member and we lured him here from Tibet with gingerbread,” Klaus says, tongue in cheek. “He’s ready for display for the 2018 Christmas season. Next year, the Yeti will be housed in the new Gingerbread Theater with a giant gingerbread house rising from the stage, dancing gingerbread and will do an entire show to entertain guests.”
Another new feature is “Reflections Around the World,” a mirrored infinity room with five rotating boxes representing scenes from the USA, Italy, Great Britain, France and Asia. Each was previously a Bloomingdale’s window display. Twenty multi-colored snowflakes, each with two colors, hand- jeweled by Klaus and his sister Karen--a half million jewels in all--enhance “Reflections Around the World.” Independent motors power each snowflake.
Castle Noel also displays millions of dollars of animated New York City Christmas windows formerly at Sak’s Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s. New movie props from Christmas movies like “Elf,” “Santa Clause 2” and Santa Claus: The Movie” add to the list of new holiday features. “There’s nothing like it,” Klaus says proudly, before admitting his real key to business success is his multi-talents -- sculpting, interior design, theming and animatronics, among others-- that allow savings on all those needs and has kept the operation viable for five seasons.
A varied career including selling his own products on QVC and the Home Shopping Network taught him alot. Creating sculptures and ornaments allowed Klaus to sell through garden centers, for instance. He was once offered a job as a Disney Imagineer. “It’s been a labor of love,” Klaus says of his seven day-a-week schedule. “It’s our own magical kingdom--we work everyday to make it better. It’s amazingly addictive and fulfilling.” But guests to Castle Noel are fulfilled as well. Klaus has endless stories...a middle-aged man, perhaps in his 40s, brought his mother. “She never smiles,” he said. The two entered Castle Noel and took the walking tour. Midway the tour--”She was smiling! She even took the slide.” “You don’t realize what these things mean to people, “ Klaus said. “The place is not just plaster and paper--it makes people feel good.” He says his effort is a way of celebrating the Klaus Christmas tradition, plus a tribute to his parents. His grandfather, a carpenter, dismantled old Victorian houses and turned the rubble into little paper villages. “And Dad was like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation,” Klaus said, detailing a story of his father ramming an over sized Christmas tree, 16 feet high and 12 feet wide at the base, through a three feet wide door, aided by a running start. A humorist himself, Klaus sports a sweatshirt on this day which says “I’m North Polish.”
More information on Castle Noel is available at www.CastleNoel.com .
Retired corporate sales & marketing guy in the tourism businesses. Long time freelance sports writer.