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Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Time Event
12:10a
Let the dark clouds burst, laugh and you'll find if you try

It was open.

So our purchase of a second-day ticket to Holiday World was unnecessary, at best. We'd be able to ride all the park's great wooden roller coasters. The Raven is themed to Poe's great poem, of course, and is set in a building fronted by what's to look like the gates to a manor, and apparently we got there just as the ride was opening for the day because we saw an empty train go past and there wasn't any line; we were able to walk on. The launch platform is decorated with a stuffed raven, and wall markings of silhouettes of crows and ravens and all the markings that reminded me of my father-in-law's goth-girl phase.

I've said this before but it bears repeating: Holiday World has a great roller coaster here. The Raven goes out into the woods and even swoops low near a lake, and twists and swoops along with several major drops, almost all of it in the woods away from anything else. It's easy to see right away why this launched Holiday World into the first tier of amusement parks, as it's a very good, exciting roller coaster in a fantastic setting. We ran back around to re-ride it before anything might go wrong; there was something closer to a line here but again, nothing, really considering the day.

We left Halloween for Christmas, the oldest and most cramped part of the park (and also the one hardest-pressed to expand, because it's surrounded by the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Halloween), which has great settings but mostly children's rides. The rides are also surprisingly loosely themed --- I guess the Dasher's Seahorses carousel-like ride is made a bit Christmassy by having the mounts be white and the canopy red and green, but, there's nothing truly Christmas about the Comet's Rockets rocket ride except the name. They are developing things, though: the Rudolph's Round-Up is a ``family sleigh ride'' almost slopping over with Christmas decorations and pictures and of course you're riding in sleighs featuring a Santa Claus behind every rider.

While wandering around we saw some mascots emerging from one of the backstage areas, and so met Holidog, the caped holiday canine that's the park's main mascot if we set the Santa issue to the side, as well as saw Kitty Claws again. And just as we were done remarking on those it turned out the park had another mascot, just coming out: George the Eagle, mascot of the Fourth of July. We were really impressed that Holiday World didn't just have so many mascots but that they were out there working the crowds and so easy to find --- remember, we didn't go looking for any of them --- and also that they were (Santa excepted) out there in the sun despite the heat.

And about the heat. You know how you can kind of smell the imminent thunderstorm coming at the midafternoon of a really hot day? And can feel the wind coming? We could feel that. We saw the flags atop taller rides getting more frantic. We were in the main gift shop in Christmas when the Emergency Alert System buzzing began. There was a severe thunderstorm rolling in and they were suspending some of their rides until it passed. We looked out the shop and saw waves of dark clouds breezing in. There was another Emergency Alert System warning, that all park operations were stopping until weather permitted. The storm came. It was a grand, beautiful, heavy storm, pouring solid for a half-hour or so, the kind that reduces the world to a little foggy circle around you, or at least your shelter.

So we gift-shopped. I picked up a Holidog cape for my elder niece, and a Holidog plush for my younger, which should nicely match her Big Bad Wolf from d'Efteling. I kind of hope to crowd her memories of youth with toys that are clearly licensed from somewhere but she has no idea where and nobody can tell her why she should have even had toys from a southwestern Indiana amusement park anyway. When the storm abated we put the stuff in our car and went back in for a couple more hours which were dramatically cooler --- it even achieved chilly --- and even more dramatically less crowded.

This gave us a couple of hours in which we could run around and ride or reride anything we felt like, really, without great waits and with that lovely evening glow augmented by the lingering rain in the sky. This reached its peak as we went back to The Voyage, in Thanksgiving, because we saw a rainbow neatly framed by the coaster track. That's particularly lovely since the extremely 80s Holiday World logo is a rainbow. It was even better than that, though, as it turned out to be a double rainbow, and the people still in the park nearly all stopped and admired this gorgeous touch.

We closed out our riding with another visit to The Raven, and the park was open just late enough we were able to see the Christmas section, and tree, lit by night. It's a beautiful place in all the phases of the day.

Trivia: Per an 1890 law, Rutgers was to provide one state scholarship each year in each of the sixty New Jersey state assembly districts, in return for which New Jersey would receive $174 per scholarship per year from the state school fund. Source: Rutgers: A Bicentennial History, Richard P McCormick.

Currently Reading: Cap Kennedy #15: Mimics of Dephene, Gregory Kern.

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