It sound a little weird put like this, but we went through the Fourth of July to get to Halloween, and see what I mean about the Rankin/Bass Special feel of the place? But in Halloween Land is ``The Legend'', the second of the park's world-class wooden roller coasters. This had a pretty substantial line too; it was a hot, bright, sunny day after all, and we could look out from there onto one of the log flume rides. The ride is themed around the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and when a train is dispatched one of the attendants rings a school bell in the station's steeple that can be heard throughout Halloween land. A recorded announcement also gives a little rhyme warning you ``don't look back!''.
The ride goes out climbing into the woods, and then turns sharply just before its first drop, which isn't something that goes against the Rules of Roller Coasters or anything, it just starts off the action in its own, odd, way. The ride goes quite close to some of the taller attractions in the Splashin' Safari water park, too, so we could see and wave at the people lined up to get soaked in their ways. It's also got a couple of tunnels and a couple of helixes to pass through. It doesn't feel quite as out-of-control as the last barrelling segments of The Beast does, but what could?
Despite bunny_hugger's reservations about log flumes after bad incidents last summer, it was incredibly hot, and we went to the Frightful Falls log flume. It's just next to The Legend and the line we were sure would be infinitely long. Actually, it turned out to be almost a walk-on ride, mysteriously enough. Perhaps everyone who wanted to get seriously wet was in the water park? Or the park was just thinning out as afternoon set on.
On the HallowSwings --- your classic sort of swing ride, with the whole structure done up with cats and spiders and the like --- the ride operator was warning people, over and over, that they weren't to twist their swings or do other sorts of riding mischief. As the cycle came to an end he warned people not to unbuckle their swings until the ride had stopped, and he reminded them again a few seconds later. This suggested that the Monday was a rather difficult one for the HallowSwings ride operator.
We went over to Christmas for a break from the heat and for a snack. The candy shop there has a Meet Santa queue, with decorated trees and toys, some of them quite vintage, some going back to the 19th century, and model trains and also a Christmas Mail box drop that would send letters put in it out December 15th. If I'd thought to get cards for my nieces, and had even the faintest idea what their addresses were, this would've been a good chance to give them the fun of a Santa Claus, Indiana, postmark. That's assuming they still postmark stuff Santa Claus, instead of, I don't know, Meteroplex Louisville or whatever.
And here's where we met our second park mascot, since we got there as Santa Claus readied to greet kids. He looked the part (though dressed without the jacket because goodness knows it was hot enough), and chatted with us about where we were from and what we thought might be the big new ride and all that. bunny_hugger got the sense that at least the woman there as Santa's helper knew what the new feature would be, though neither let on. I mentioned I'd hoped they would build an Old Mill type ride, which wouldn't plausibly fit the rumored budget. bunny_hugger guessed a roller coaster with perhaps some kind of splashdown attraction.
We got some fudge and while eating that, and having some soda in the enclosed and air-conditioned restaurant decorated with paintings of Santa before and after Christmas saw another of Holiday World's mascots. This one is Kitty Claws, a black cat dressed in an orange ballerina's outfit, who's the mascot for Halloween Land and she'd look perfectly in place at a fursuit parade. A kid came up to her and tried to explain, if we have this right, that her shoes are too big, which Kitty didn't seem to take offense to. We were impressed, too, since obviously Holiday World doesn't just have a lot of mascots but they were out and about and findable: I've never seen Kenny Kangaroo out at Kennywood (though I did see the Arrow), but without even trying we'd seen three of Holiday World's five so far.
We left Christmas for the Fourth of July, where the music is heavily Swing From The 40s, since that's (remarkably) the only non-kids' carousel they have. It's not an antique, but it has got a striking blue-and-white building that's newly painted since bunny_hugger's last visit. I noticed sitting on the operators' controls a green tag reading, ``MONDAY: Star Spangled Carousel''. On the side of a fuse box were similar tags for each day of the week, plus a red one for ``OUT OF SERVICE: Star Spangled Carousel''. The purpose of these tags and why they need a different one for each day of the week is to us a mystery.
We also rode the Rough Riders, the buffalo-themed bumper cars, and the Eagles Flight flying scooters before heading back to Halloween just on the off chance that The Raven might have opened up. It's hard to say whether we hoped it'd be open --- so we'd get to ride --- or that it'd be closed --- so our purchase of tickets for Tuesday wouldn't seem rash. But we'd find out.
Trivia: In 1916 Pittsburgh officials estimated that smoke ordinances adopted four years earlier had cut the city's industrial smoke by 46 percent. Source: Coal: A Human History, Barbara Freese.
Currently Reading: Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, June 2014, Editor Sheila Williams.