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Santa swapped for Father Frost at Denmark amusement park

Courtesy of Harriet Baskas

The Russian-themed Christmas town inside Tivoli amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This year, the traditional red-suited Santa Claus will not be in his sleigh greeting children at Tivoli, the amusement park that opened in the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark in 1843.

Instead, the world’s second oldest amusement park, with annual attendance topping 3.7 million in 2010, is hosting Santa’s Russian counterpart, Father Frost. He dresses in bluish colors and adheres to the familiar holiday program with a white beard and a penchant for distributing presents.

Why the Santa-switch?

For the past 18 years Tivoli, which is traditionally closed for the fall and winter, has opened during November and December all decked out in its Christmas best.

This year, a temporary Russian-themed town has been set up inside Tivoli. Built at the cost of $10 million Danish krone (about $1.75 million in U.S. dollars), it is inspired by building styles popular in the Czarist days and includes onion domes and towers that are lit-up at night. 

Inside Tivoli’s version of St. Basil's Cathedral (the popular attraction on Moscow’s Red Square) visitors can ride a miniature Trans-Siberian railway that takes them through Russian landscapes, passing pixies, choirs and sparkling Fabergé eggs along the way.

“Events create unique experiences and attract tourists,” Lars Bernhard Jørgensen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen said in a statement, “and with the new Tivoli initiative the tourists get even more good reasons to visit Copenhagen in the wintertime.” That includes the increasing number of tourists who are making a stop in Copenhagen as part of a Christmas cruise.

Tivoli is closed on December 24th and 25th, but festivities pick up again on the 26th, when the first of a five-night fireworks festival kicks off.  

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Find more by Harriet Baskas on StuckatTheAirport.com and follow her on Twitter.