If anybody can make a move across town work on a deadline, it's Santa and his team of elves at Christmas Town.

The annual event is back for its sixth year starting on Friday, but this time Christmas Town has moved from its recent northwest location back to where it started at the Kern County Museum. It will be there through Dec. 31.

"I love the museum," said Mike Ross, the mastermind behind Christmas Town. "We started here, and I thought it was a great place. It was an easy decision to come back. It's the best natural setting for this event."

When it started in 2013, Christmas Town was set up on the museum's Pioneer Village grounds, then at nearby Sam Lynn Ballpark the next year. In 2015, it moved to a North of the River park on Riverlakes Drive, but since NOR had its own plans for the spot, that location was always only going to be Christmas Town's home for three years.

But just because it's back where it started, don't expect Christmas Town to be just like it was when it was last at the museum. 

"It's 10 times bigger now than when we were first here," Ross said.

All the Christmas Town favorites are returning but Ross also promised some new ones this year for the 40,000 or so people who come during the season.

There will be seven light shows around the grounds, including one with a 40-foot Christmas tree and surrounding canopy of lights in the museum's Batey Garden. Another will take place among some bounce houses. The Holly Jolly Hayride will take guests through the grounds for another light show.

Favorites like the ice-skating rink and sledding hill will also return. The hill is 10 feet taller this year, with a shorter run, so expect a steeper and more thrilling ride to the bottom. 

Santa will take up residence in the Metcalf House for the duration of Christmas Town. Guests will be able to meet with him for photos (and put in some gift requests, perhaps).

New this year is an outdoor laser tag setup in Batey Garden, where "those high-octane kids full of sugar can wear themselves out," Ross joked.

Christmas Town will also take over the museum's Neon Courtyard, which was left out of the holiday fun the first year. It will now host the Candyland train.

Admission includes access to all activities; guests only have to pay for concessions if they want something to eat and paintballs if they want to shoot the Abominable Snowman.

Throughout Pioneer Village, the museum's old houses and buildings are already adorned with garland, ornaments and lights. Among the houses are around 180 live Christmas trees.

Ross has plenty of experience with big projects like Christmas Town. While he has long been the Christmas guy, just this year he took on some new challenges: In October, he opened Track House (formerly Bakersfield Karting Experience) and within that same building launched Scare Valley, a new haunted house attraction.  

Six years on, putting Christmas Town together isn't unlike the work elves do in Santa's workshop: It's a lot of work, but done efficiently and smoothly by a solid team.

"We keep trying to grow it," Ross said. "We're just big Christmas fans."

Kelly Ardis can be reached at 661-395-7660. Follow her on Twitter at @TBCKellyArdis.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.