Acorn Entertainment Group is excited to announce that it has made an offer to build Jackalope Junction, “the world’s first” Steampunk Western Storypark, in the heart of Historic Williams, Arizona, the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” on a prime 77 acre parcel, part of a future planned community development by Kansas Development LLC.
Teaming up with Acorn Entertainment Group to help with the story element is the award-winning studio collective AdventureLAB based in Denmark, with guidance from its founder and CEO, Klaus Sommer Paulsen who was a member of the EME Division Board and then the International Board of the Themed Entertainment Association, along with its Digital Concept Developer, Ecaterina Capatina.
The story of Jackalope Junction centres around a small Steampunk Western town of the late 1800’s, full of well-crafted characters and the story of the town itself – an old abandoned mining town that is restored by our main character and hero, Jackalope Jim.
According to Greg Schumsky, Creator of Jackalope Junction and founder of Acorn Entertainment Group, the story ties into a couple of world-renowned storytelling genres, from the adventures and tales of the Old West, to the fantastical worlds of Jules Verne.
“There’s a certain element within the stories of the American Western Genre as well as those of Jules Verne. Each touches on the innate human need for adventure and exploration into the unknown, and include true tales of perseverance, courage, sadness, loss, and victory despite all the odds against the heroes. Since I was a child, I was enthralled with both forms of storytelling – my first real western book I loved as a child was “Mr. Mysterious and Company” by famed author, Sid Fleischman, and was equally enthralled by several movies based on Jules Verne’s books, as most of the characters started off as just your average person, yet they were able to overcome so many challenges and obstacles that only made them stronger.
“There’s a wonderful passage in the Bible that says “but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. We have an innate need to persevere. I hope to bring that lesson back to the children and adults of the world we live in – with a sense of values, kindness and a moral code that seems to have gone missing for a long time now, told through our characters and a certain level of wholesomeness that’s fallen away as well,” quotes Schumsky.
The park is going to be small in comparison to most “typical” theme parks, coming in around 10-12 acres and limited to 3000 guests per day, through a reservation system plus walk-ins. Acorn plans to build in the town of Williams, Arizona, with an average of 5 million visitors a year, as part of a massive 500 acre planned community, themed to late 1880’s architecture, which Acorn will be instrumental in the design and architecture, so the community feels like it’s historically part of Williams and Jackalope Junction, as the park will be the anchor for the development. Acorn Entertainment Group is hoping that a majority of the build for the park will be funded through the State of Arizona Theme Park Tax District Bond.
The park will feature an unusual steampunk western town with retail, food and entertainment, including the first robot owned and operated coffee house “Java Joe’s” to feature coffees from small roaster, “Expedition Roasters” known for their hand crafted themed coffees. Jackalope Junction will also have a very unique “Back Country” with a turn of the century county fair, rustic buildings that will host several original attractions based on our characters and their stories, and a huge gem mine experience, with a “Mine Cave Adventure Tour”, world-class maze, and hidden VIP eating establishment – the “Time Crystal Club”, or guests can go for an exciting ride above the treetops in one of Baron VonZümski’s SkyRunner Rocket Planes.
Shops to be included will be Gurdy’s Mercantile and General Store, Ma Gurdy’s Toy Box featuring hand-carved wooden toys and rag dolls; McCowan’s “Jackalope Junction™ Town Cryer” newspaper office, Professor Ping’s Emporium of Magic and Science, Vincent’s Barbershop; an old time photo studio, Capuchino’s Vintage Bizarre, featuring unique one of a kind custom made pieces for the home; and the local jail and Sheriff’s office.
Other buildings to be included are a town bank, town hall, and fire department. The park will also feature a Native American Village with our “Magic Sky Theater”, and an overnight camping experience for families. Jackalope Junction will have several food options for all palates, from a grand saloon restaurant – the Lucky Rabbit; Paula Pigg’s quick-serve picnic counter with fried chicken to be enjoyed on the massive lawn with an outdoor stage; a turn of the century ice cream parlour and soda fountain, candy shoppe, Pasquale’s Pizzeria, Señor Molé’s Tacos N Tamales, Big Bob’s Barbecue, and several food carts with county fair offerings.
Plans are to have outside the park a 5 acre event centre, and eventually a 140 room themed hotel based on the famous Wawona in Yosemite; a Live Farm Experience, working in conjunction with 4H and the Future Farmers of America, where high schoolers can give demos on raising small livestock as well as growing vegetable gardens. Guests to the farm can enjoy a great farm to table menu in the small café.
Guests will also be able to have tours of the nearby Acorn Entertainment Studios, to see firsthand how a theme park is designed and developed, watch animators working on our future animated television series, or see artists and craftsmen working in our large fabrication facility on elements of new rides and attractions.
Plans are to have the event centre opened by Spring 2023 along with the studios, and the park to be opened by Summer 2024. As an intellectual property that has so much depth and the ability to touch so many lives, we plan on taking the story of Jackalope Junction and it’s characters to children’s books, animated television, and licensing for clothing and toys as well.