Kennywood’s Holiday Lights 2012

Well, I have returned from my trek to Duquesne! The weather was a bit dismal and not at all typical for this time of year. Virtually every day was rain-filled with only periodic periods of clearing. I had to cancel a lot of my plans due to the inclement weather, but fortunately, one MAJOR hope did come true.

Holiday_Lights_Smaller_LogoOn Saturday, the good Lord saw fit to grant a reprieve from the rain by evening, allowing Kennywood to present their “Holiday Lights” event that night. Friday night’s presentation was cancelled due to the weather and I was crossing my fingers and saying my prayers that Saturday’s event would not suffer the same fate.

This was just the second year that Kennywood had dressed up for Christmas and opened to the public to display all of its finery. I was super anxious to see the ol’ gal decked out and WOW, she did not disappoint. Word has it that Kennywood had made the Top 10 Christmas Light Displays in the US, and it is not a surprise!

The park opened at 5 p.m. EXACTLY, and only remained open until 9 p.m. Only a handful of rides were operating, and those that were, were ablaze with holiday lights. The Kangaroo, Ghostwood Estate, The Turtle, Paratrooper, The Auto Race and The Merry-Go-Round were all running at full tilt, along with nine additional rides in Kiddieland. The Olde Kennywood Railroad had been transformed into “The Gingerbread Express,” and the iconic representations of those that built the Mon-Valley’s Industries were replaced by dozens and dozens of gingerbread men, elves and Santa himself.

The Volk Family was well represented that evening at Kennywood by myself and my cousins Etta, Tom, Marianne, Jeff and Helen Volk. We all took advantage of the open rides and bravely tackled each one. It was such a nostalgic experience, as well as a learning experience for some of us. Sadly, after a couple of rides that kept us spinning in circle, we had come to realize that our parent’s complaint about those rides making them sick had come true for us as well. I steered clear of some of the rides and channeled my mother’s spirit and only rode the Gingerbread Express for the remainder of the night. The Parkside Café, which in our day was the Kennywood Restaurant and Cafeteria, housed a huge model train display that was hand-crafted by local hobbyists. It was truly impressive.

Midway thru the evening, we treated ourselves to a visit to The Potato Patch, which was serving their fantastic French fries, smothered in cheese and bacon! Fortunately, we ate AFTER we had ridden the stomach turning rides and knew that we wouldn’t have issues for the rest of the evening.

I was able to capture some wonderful photos of the park in its entire splendor. I’ve put together a video for you to enjoy that I hope captures the pure fantasy and enchantment of the season and of the park that is near and dear to each one of us – Kennywood Park!

Merry Christmas, and enjoy the show….. 

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18 Responses to Kennywood’s Holiday Lights 2012

  1. Janet says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing and giving those of us that live away the gift of wonderful memories!

  2. Ray V. says:

    Thank you for such a great trip. Always used to seeing KP dressed up in the summer. But WOW, she sure dresses up nice for Christmas too. Thanks again!

  3. joseph sobeck says:

    Havn’t enjoyed kennywood this much since I was a kid. I smiled as I watched and remembered all the summers growing up. Countless hours at the park. I now live close to all the parks in Florida, but none compare to Kennywood. Now I am too old to go and re-live the parks, but your walk into the pass was great. Thank you and God bless

  4. Jack Schalk says:

    Jim, thank you very much for this walk through an event I’ve never seen before.
    Kennywood did a magnificent job with their show and a lot of hours must have been spent in preparation.
    This Hungarian Hunky was lost except for the lake pix as I have not been there since I graduated DHS in 1954. It is still hallowed ground to all of us and I again thank you for sharing.
    Merry Christmas to all!

  5. cheryl says:

    Very Nice Jim…. Merry Christmas To You & Your Family & Happy New Years…You always have great stories …Thanks

  6. Jane Fulmer Pocsatko says:

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Beautiful. Thank you for all your hard work you do all year to keep our youth alive. Best wishes for a blessed Christmas Season to you and your family.

  7. Really nice, Jim! thx for sharing

  8. David says:

    Thanks always to Jim.

    Red & White
    fight with might
    win tonight!

    I noticed Dairy Queen now open for breakfast too, after going past Kennywood.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  9. Karen Smith says:

    Beautiful Jim. Thanks much for sharing this. I do admit I’m a bit jealous(green with envy,actually) that you had patch fries 🙂 Wishing you and yours a Merry and blessed Christmas.

  10. Marianne Volk says:

    Great job with the slide show Jim…I knew it would be fantastic! So glad that you were able to come back “home” at this time of year and visit with everyone. Tom and I went back to Kennywood last night with Heather and her family. Again, wonderful time was had and it was so nice to see it again through the eyes of the grandchildren! More rides were operating, lots of “spinners”. Tom actually rode the Paratrooper again….I sat out. Thank you again for putting together such a wonderful slide presentation of the Kennywood lights. Hope to all get together again soon. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks Marianne! I look forward to my trip home to visit with all my “kinfolk” each year and can’t wait till next December!!! Love you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

  11. Debra Faust-Clancy says:

    Jim, Your Kennywood Christmas Lights video will live on. So beautiful and captured so well. I think it finally tipped me over the edge into the Christmas Spirit at last. Your photography skills are eclipsed only by your technical expertise on the computer. You have mad skills. And, you are One
    Fine Hunky. Merry Christmas everyone!

  12. cheryl Johnson Oxford says:

    Thanks for the beautiful walk down memory lane. The park is splendidly arrayed. I had not seen the park for 50 years, so it was especially wonderful to see it again. Thanks again. Cheryl Johnson Oxford

  13. Claudia Repko Misage says:

    Jim, Jim, Jim !!!!! How can I ever thank you for the WONDERFUL Kennywood Holiday light show. Just this weekend, as a matter of fact just arrived home, I spent it in Dallas, Texas with my brother, David and wife Patti, who has a home in Ohio as well as Pittsbutgh, there daughter Melissa who lives in Dallas and myself from Duquesne and husband Jim from Muhall now we are both from Austin, Texas. Anyhow that is ALL we talked about was going to see the Kennywood Light Show. How we all heard it was so wonderful and beautiful and lo and behold I arrive home only to find you and your beautiful picture show right here in front of me on my computer. Thank you from the bottom of my heart—it was great of you to share this with all of us. Merry Christmas to you and your family. God Bless ! Thanks ! Vesele Vianoce !!! and Dakujem !!!!!!

  14. vickie reese says:

    What a wonderful video thank you so much..May you have a Merry Christmas and a HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR…Vickie Brady Reese

  15. hulldstina says:

    Thanks so much, Jim. Beautiful lights; great memories. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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