Kennywood Caper III: 9/8/01

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Monday, September 10, 2001 6:47 AM
The Mon Valley Education Consortium held its third Kennywood Caper this weekend. This is a benefit event for the Consortium, which is "dedicated to making a difference in the lives of all children and their communities." (For more information see their website at )

Being the good Kennywood addict that I am, I went, with a group of 9 fellow enthusiasts (and not-quite-so-coincidentally all rec.roller-coaster readers -- we all wore our RRC buttons, much to the amusement of a few employees who knew what they were.) Tickets were NOT available at the door, and had to be purchased ahead of time (at $50/head!)

This was an interesting event. Being a charity thing, it was "adults only". Now, since alcohol was being served, I CAN understand not wanting underage drinkers about. If only some of the "adults" in attendance were as mature as some of the "underage" people I know. But more on that in a bit...

A decent selection of rides were open, mostly in the "front half" of the park. Phantom's Revenge, Thunderbolt, and Exterminator were all running, as were Pittfall, Wave Swinger, Wipeout, the Pittsburgh Plunge, Kangaroo, Paratrooper, the Whip, and possibly several others I'm forgetting. We rode everything except Wipeout (which I was game for, but most of my party doesn't ride) and the Plunge (we didn't want to get wet -- VERY few people rode this actually).

Many of the people in attendance (and there was a decent, but not HUGE, crowd) were people who don't go to amusement parks often, if at all. They were there for the charity event, which happened to be at Kennywood. It was amusing to hear people getting off Phantom making comments like "Oh my god, never again, that was too much for me..." I ultimately got 5 rides on Phantom (falling short of my goal of 50 for the year, oh well), 3 on Thunderbolt, and 1 on the non-spinning-Exterminator. Thunderbolt and Exterminator were basically walkons all night, Phantom was never more than 10 minutes or so that we saw. Phantom and Thunderbolt were also delivering some of the wildest rides of the season, especially Thunderbolt.

Walking around the park was odd. Lots of stands were set up that wouldn't be there normally, selling everything from coffee & biscotti, to Kettle Corn (which I wish were always available at the park :) ) Most of the normal food stands were closed. Some parts of the park were actually rather surreal. Back by Kangaroo, it was SILENT. The arcade was closed, and very few people were back there, so all one heard was Kangaroo, Paratrooper, and CRICKETS.

Most unusual for Kennywood was the wine and beer for sale. I didn't bother, as it was "cheap" (to me) beer -- Killian's Red being the best of the bunch. Eh. To be honest, I think I'd have been much happier without the alcohol there at all. There were quite a few people staggering around who'd visibly had too much to drink, which I can never understand. You're at a charity event to raise money for a good cause, and you make a fool of yourself? One girl who'd clearly had too much already, but was walking around with a beer, staggered right into me, spilling her cheap smelly beer all over my Stark Raven Mad shirt. I was not amused.

Other than that, though, we had a GREAT time. The park looked great, crowds ON the rides were light, there was good food about, and it was all for a good cause. We decided we'll be back for the next Caper, whenever that turns out to be.

*** This post was edited by GregLeg on 9/10/2001. ***

Friday, September 14, 2001 8:37 PM
Do you have any idea why Exterminator was not spinning?
I really can't imagine the ride without it...
So were Jackrabbit and Racer not open, just the back portion of the park?
Sounds like a fun time, at what has become one of my new favorite parks!

Knotts Halloween Haunt!!
29 years and still screaming.

Friday, September 14, 2001 10:01 PM
The release mechanism for the Exterminator broke, so the cars weren't being triggered at that point of the ride.  Racer and Jackrabbit weren't operating, probably due to the low staffing.  Most of the front of the park was, though.  (It's funny, I can see why people would think of the Jackrabbit area as the "front" of the park, but to me that's still the "back" because years ago the main entrance was under Laser Loop and later under Phantom's lift, before the parking area there was turned into Lost Kennywood...)
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