Mayor Earl Johnson helps demonstrate the Christmas in Candyland app, an augmented reality app, which is available for free. The app allows users to capture Candyland magic by adding snow to photos, or to find enchanted characters throughout the venue which add interesting items - like this snow scene and train - to photos.
The Andalusia City Council last night authorized a total budget of up to $96,000 for Christmas in Candyland, but expects to recoup a portion of its expenses in ticket sales and sponsorships.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chrissie Duffy outlined the event budget, adding that a good portion of the budget is for capital expenses, including a new train engine for the Candyland Express, the development of a new Christmas in Candyland app, and a new maze.
Because the Candyland Express runs constantly when the venue is open, and is always pulling weight, the original train engine is beginning to show wear. The new engine will include a diesel engine, and the existing engine will be used as a back-up.
Duffy said the city recoups part of its expenses from ticket sales for the Polar Bear Slide and ice skate rentals, which usually generate an income of $30,000 during the month-long event.
This year, Duffy said, there also is a new website for the event, christmasincandyland.com, which includes information about lodging, dining and other local attractions for those who travel to Candyland from outside the market. It opens Dec. 1.