Kennywood gets fanatic about park visitors
Picture the most enthusiastic, adorned Pittsburgh Steeler fan, and that's what the new Kennywood Fanatic looks like.
Visitors to Kennywood Park, which began daily operations on May 15 for its 118th season, may encounter the West Mifflin park's new mascot, which will join Kenny Kangaroo and the yellow Kennywood Arrow. But the Fanatic doesn't wear a face-covering, full-body plush costume like the other mascots do. He is a regular guy in street clothes, with yellow-and-black face paint, and a mohawk with yellow-and-black feathers. The Fanatic will circulate throughout the park, shouting rah-rah messages about Kennywood.
On May 15 at a news conference, Kennywood officials introduced Fanatic, which is part of the larger Kennywood Fanatic promotion for season-ticket holders, which encourages spreading Kennywood enthusiasm.
“So many people just have memories and experiences here over the years,” Kennywood spokesman Nick Paradise said.
Retired Steeler Mike Logan attended the news conference as a self-professed Kennywood fanatic who has been going since his childhood in West Mifflin. He now lives Downtown with his wife, Jennifer, and their three kids: Trey, 17; Mike, 15; and Mikhi, 13. All are big Kennywood fans, and family members, including those from West Virginia and Michigan, hold a family reunion at Kennywood every year.
“Any time I have things going on in my life, I know I can come back to Kennywood and be welcomed,” Logan said about his happy place.
Paradise said that Kennywood will beef up security this season after an opening-day incident May 2, when the park closed early because of a disturbance with teenagers scuffling, shoving and pushing each other. Although Kennywood is reserving details, Paradise said the park's security officers, along with West Mifflin police officers, will be increasing their work at the park.
In other Kennywood news this season, the park will donate $1 of every ticket sold at Giant Eagle to the Free Care Fund at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, up to $20,000. The wooden Jack Rabbit, one of the country's oldest roller coasters, turns 95 this year, and, on May 24, Kennywood will celebrate with Turn Back the Clock Oldies Day with $10 admission for senior citizens and oldies music.
Other events include the Roller Coaster Race on June 6, Sports Day on June 21, Kidsfest from June 23 to 25, Celebrate America from June 30 to July 5, Italian Day on July 12, Summerfest from July 25 to 31; and First Responder Day on Aug. 30.
Details: 412-461-0500 or kennywood.com
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7824.