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.
On 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…..