After the rides closed on Saturday the Pumpkin Fest was still going on. Mostly that was the vendors selling food and goods and all. We decided to return to our hotel and warm up some, and then get something to eat. We thought we'd want something a little more substantial than we could get from fairground food. Also somewhere we could sit warmer. As we left the queue was already forming, and already pretty long, for Ghost Lake. This is the group that rents out the Conneaut Lake Park grounds to put up what they claim is the largest haunted house attraction. It sets thirteen stages, some of them parts of the park, and I can believe it's the world's largest. It's got a half-abandoned amusement park to use, after all. We had thought about getting tickets but who had the time to wait for hours for a walkthrough that was projected to take at least two hours to start?
At the hotel we had the trouble of our keycards not working and needing to get them reactivated. Between that and the considerable appeal of sitting down a while we were slow getting started again. We went to a Perkins that had the advantage of being across the street from the hotel. It had some disadvantages. It was busy, and the service was slow. Possibly they were just having a bad day; possibly they were overwheled by tourists like us who'd come in out of the cooler weather. We certainly needed the food and the warmth and the chance to sit.
But it slowed us doing going back to the park. When we returned, now safely after dark, I was excited by the rattling of the Blue Streak lift hill. No good, though: you could only ride the roller coaster as the thirteenth setting of the Ghost Lake haunted house attractions, and not as something independent. We could hear the comforting sound of the roller coaster running, and see it moving, but there'd be no riding it unless we devoted the entire rest of the night to standing in lines and going through other attractions and finally, eventually, riding it.
What we really wanted to see was the fireworks, set for 9 pm. We also hoped to do a little more shopping at the carnival booths, but they were nearly all closed. We'd missed out on potato chip dips after all. We would get some fried snacks for a dessert and whatnot, although I forget which kind. The stand was slow making stuff. Or they were making very fresh stuff, if you prefer to view it that way. I waited for the food while sending bunny_hugger on into the crowd, toward the fireworks, and only realized later there was no way I could've found her. Yet somehow I did find her and we could eat while the fireworks went off over the lake.
It was beautiful, and we could see Conneaut Lake Park in that beautiful glow any amusement park has at night. The light was beautiful. There were some of the Ghost Lake attractions running. Built into what had been a midway games area was something called ``The Demon House'', thick with black-light paintings. Out of the doors this mountain of soap bubbles emerged, loose little bits of foam that threatened to take over the park. Young adults were cackling with sometimes-ironic, sometimes-sincere glee at all this.
We looked, longingly, at the Blue Streak by night. Ghost Lake riders had it to themselves. The Kiddieland area was also converted into part of the Ghost Lake attractions, with the clown head over the entrance covered up with the usual sort of demonic creature look. We were wrapped up in a lot of people having a grand time.
But we ultimately were at an amusement park full of rides we couldn't go on, and shops that were closed up or selling more food than we could eat. And it was getting later, and colder. We bade our farewell to the park, and took the long slow walk back to the car. The line to get in to Ghost Lake was still enormous, longer than we could have imagined we'd see at Conneaut Lake Park.
Trivia: French King Louis XIV routinely travelled on the routes royales with his own crew of road-menders. Source: The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, Graham Robb.