Kennywood lights up the season in new ways
In its opening season last year, Kennywood Holiday Lights drew thousands of visitors for each of its nine evenings.
This year, the West Mifflin amusement park has increased the seasonal celebration of light to include 11 more nights, activities and space in the park.
Park spokesman Jeff Filicko said there is one other thing the park wouldn't mind adding this year: snow.
“We didn't get one (laying snow) last year,” said Filicko, recalling the mild winter. Not that the park is hoping for a blizzard or anything but Filicko said he thinks a dusting of snow would make the seasonal transformation of the park complete.
Kennywood Holiday Lights opens today at 5:30 p.m. and continues every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 30, plus Dec. 26 and 27, from 5-9 p.m.
“It's such a different feel for the park,” Filicko said of the seasonal goings-on, which include scenic outdoor lighting displays, indoor activities for children, rides, shows, and holiday snacks. Filicko noted that Kennywood employees have been working at a brisk pace all month to convert the park from its Phantom Fright Nights look for Halloween to its present winter lights motif.
“We just have hundreds of thousands of lights and everything is geared towards kids,” said Filicko.
Getting back to practical matters, park lanes are dotted with salt containers in the event snow and slippery weather does arrive. Crews have also added temporary walls and space heaters to park pavilions to give strollers places of respite from the cold.
Visitors will find warmth and more at the Parkside Café. The park landmark will be home to an impressive model railroad display set up by the Pittsburgh Independent Hi-Railers model railroad club and cookie decorating activities featuring cookies made by the Apple Cookie & Chocolate Company of Turtle Creek.
Santa Claus will call the loading gate for the Racer rollercoaster home. Kids can get their pictures taken with Santa in a special coaster car built for the occasion.
The park has added rides. The Turtle is open, as is interactive haunted house Ghostwood Estate. Ghostwood has a special holiday theme.
“It's still kind of scary but it's also Christmas,” said Marie Ruby, who is director of ride operations.
Other rides include the Paratrooper, Merry-Go-Round and the Gingerbread Express railroad.
Ruby said the park is trying to make the holiday program something that is family oriented and appeals to people of all ages. Plenty of work by regular and seasonal employees has gone into the transformation, but Ruby said meeting the deadline for today's opening has not been a problem because the project has been ahead of schedule.
Park characters Kenny Kangaroo and Arrow the Kennywood sign, plus gingerbread men, elves and snowmen will roam the park and host activities at the Kennyville Stage and by the Jack Rabbit.
There will be regular performances by school and community choir groups at the Sound of the Holidays stage. The park is making one of its enclosed pavilions available for rental during.
The festival has been expanded to include sections of the park around Kennyville Stage and the original Potato Patch.
The park's midway is festooned with lights and it leads to the lagoon where 10-minute light shows occur every half hour. The park is decorated with more than 50 live pine trees donated by the Indiana Tree Growers Association.
Filicko said most of the park's food stands will be open and selling special seasonal products, though park favorites like Potato Patch Fries and corn dogs will be available.
Admission to Kennywood Holiday Lights is $14.99 plus tax. Tickets bought in advance at Giant Eagle are $2 less. Children 2 and younger are free. Parking is also free.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers receiver Heyward-Bey looks to make most of chance
- Steelers know fast start could be key to upcoming season
- Scientists dismiss dire outlook for Western Pennsylvania winter weather
- Rossi: Cole perfect pitcher to start pivotal series for Pirates
- Steelers formalize practice squad
- Pirates notebook: Bucs unlikely to make trade before deadline
- Pitt notebook: Panthers defense responds to questions with shutout
- Former Clairton, Pitt cornerback Coles enrolls at Duquesne
- New Ohiopyle park manager ready for big challenge that comes with job
- Penn State notebook: Defensive line has strong start
- On the border of Westmoreland, Fayette, Jacobs Creek section is sacred spot