We were out in the front of the park for the Halloweekends Parade. We were not in the same spot we'd had the previous year, since we'd learned the music was inaudible from around there. This was the second year of their reorganized and more Peanuts-themed Halloweekends parade and our first time to hear the new tune. It was all right, though weird, in that way trying to write peppy tunes about Peanuts characters are. Among the floats was a vampire Woodstock riding in a hearse painted up with the pumpkin patch, though, so at least that's kind of weird. They had some winners of the costume contests, though they didn't have any high school marching bands, which got the parade done in good time at least.
Then we were drawn by some strange impulse to poke around the Oceana Midway, and particularly the stadium there. It's this concrete monstrosity, built around 1980 and home to dolphin shows back when we as a people weren't thinking through ``animal shows at amusement parks''. It hasn't had dolphins (or fish, in the first-level aquarium) in years. We wondered, as ever, about when they were going to tear the stadium down and replace it with something that serves a particular use. They were using some of its space --- like a lot of circa 80 concrete monstrosities, it's got large overhangs --- as theater space. They were doing a puppet show about the monster in the closet, or somesuch, pleasant enough.
And we photographed the heck out of the stadium, and the immediate area. It turned out that Cedar Point planned to tear it down and replace it with something more useful this winter, and so this would be the last day normal members of the public would see it. This is twice now that bunny_hugger has foreseen the surprise demolition of an old, neglected Cedar Point structure (she also just had a feeling about the Good Time Theater, before it was demolished for, ultimately, ValRavn). It's a bit spooky.
We took our season's ride on Wicked Twister, a shuttle coaster and so not one of bunny_hugger's favored rides, and then decided to give Mystic Mine Ride another try. It also gave us a little chance to check out the candle shop (I think it was closed by the time we got there the day before) and see that they had Day of the Dead-themed candles now. Got us wondering what people from Latin America think of the way Day of the Dead's become a theme in our pop culture the last couple years. On the one hand, it means the holiday's represented, and you can find party favors and stuff, even in amusement parks. On the other hand, it's probably being represented in subtly incompetent ways. Hard to guess.
And then, against expectations, Mine Ride was open! It had, I think, a 45-minute wait according to the sign out front, or a five-minute wait according to a kid ducking out of the line. It was, in truth, probably a 15-minute wait by rights, but there was something or other keeping the ride from running when we first got in the line. And they were only seating people in the first few cars, which seems really odd; generically, I expect a roller coaster to need more weight.
Anyway, what's important is ``What's In The Shed''. This was the slightly odd spoof of the Mystic Timbers promotion at Kings Island, at the south end of Ohio. Mystic Timbers uses a video and a couple tool-shed props to hold a train at a brake while the other train loads. It's fun, better than just waiting, but a little silly. Cedar Point, here, added a ``Wood Shed'' sign to the entrance of the maintenance shed that the ride starts out by going through. It had a projector casting the image of spiders on the wall, a well-formed spoof for everyone at Cedar Point who'd also been at Kings Island that year. And then at the end of the ride, returning to the launch station, they had something else. An old fridge, full of rubber bats and snakes and stuff, things also in the Mystic Timbers videos. So, good second part to the joke.
By this surprise ride we were near the end of the night. We decided not to eat at the park, trusting we could get something at the Speedway in Maumee if need be. (We couldn't. Well, not anything hot; we'd just assumed they would have some vegetarian things on the hot-roll-grills.) We'd get in a few last rides for the season. Cedar Downs, the racing carousel. Blue Streak, the lone remaining wooden roller coaster there. Dash over to the candy shop to get some fudge. The Kiddie Kingdom carousel, which we got to to see no attendant around and thought, well, maybe we've missed it to buy fudge? No; there was a ride operator nearby, and we were able to get on the last ride for the night and watch as the park turned its lights off.
We poked around the vicinity of Kiddie Kingdom, and the Oceana Midway, and the stadium, in the dark. And finally left, to our car, we assumed.
Trivia: At its 1885 founding the United States's Military Intelligence Division had one office and one clerk. Source: The Detonators: The Secret Plot to Destroy America and an Epic Hunt for Justice, Chad Millman.
Currently Reading: Space Lash, Hal Clement. By far the longest story --- a touch too long, honestly --- is a surprisingly space-skeptical note about how neither space colonies nor space farms are an economically viable way to relieve population pressures on Earth. Also it features one of my favorite minor genetic-engineering tropes, the humans who can eat cellulose. A lot of these stories are fun ones marred by a punch line that depends on some obvious bit of, like, high-school science being overlooked, eg, whether the engineered humans would like the taste of cellulose. A lot of problems that, really, good program management would foresee and deal with.
PS: Ann Arbor, besides the Peaceable Kingdom.
The tiny annex screening room in the Michigan Theater, the other sidewalk movie-palace-type theater in town. This small room was opened when the State went under renovation, and we saw The Red Turtle in it. The seats were taken from the State Theatre. It's about the size of my Scion tC.
From the annex screening room at the Michigan Theater, looking back to the more main areas of the theater. Also the poster for my indie quirk-core movie about a couple twentysomething art majors who feel like they're always in the coming-attractions part of their own lives.
And here's up front, the part of the Michigan Theater that earns the movie-palace designation.