PKI Christmas Special

Friday, September 27, 2002 11:16 AM

A while back, Paramount's Kings Island used to be open during the winter. They would allow the fountains to freeze so that people could go ice skating on them. They would also convert the bumber cars so that they too could be skated on. You could bring your own skates or you could rent them. I think that the people in costumes actually had Santa hats and other Christmas stuff on their costumes too. As for rides, I dont know if any of them were open, I was too young to remember. Does anyone know when and why they stopped doing this?

Since I can't remember when this was, I'm not sure if Paramount had bought Kings Island yet, so that could be part of the answer. I think it was at least 9 to 10 years ago.

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Intelligence is a God given gift: Know how to use it.

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Friday, September 27, 2002 11:25 AM

What you describe was Winter Fest. During WinterFest, the park did have Ice skating in the Royal Fountain, and other winter/holiday related activities. This premiered in 1982 (unlike FearFest, WinterFest was free to seasonpass holders) The last winter for Winterfest, was 1992-1993, supposedly because it failed to generate enough money. (Paramount purchased Kings Island in the fall of 1992.)

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Coney Island (Cincinnati) ride operator

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Friday, September 27, 2002 11:59 AM
The Beach ( a waterpark VERY near PKI ) has winter skating, and holiday activities. I went there last year, and there were about... 15 people in the whole place! Around PKI, Those kind of activities arent anyhting new and exciting, so PKI wouldnt make much money form it.

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Women was god's second mistake.

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Friday, September 27, 2002 12:18 PM

But it was a revolutionary concept when Kings Island intorduced Winterfest. It started out really small, basically a christmas shopping village around International Street and shows in the American Heritage Music Hall and the newly built Festhaus, which was first used at Winterfest.

Later it grew and eventually came to spread through Rivertown with mosre crafters, and the train ride being open. There was never much in the way of rides, Train, Enchanted Voyage, horse and buggy rides (extra cost), and perhaps the Carousel. It was primairly a craft fest, with ice skating, live shows, model trains and a festival atmosphere. One neat thing they did the first year in terms of a display was to remove the kegs from the spinning kegs ride, paint the playform white, and mount stautes of figure skaters on the turntables, then leave the ride running. The effect was an animated winter scene.

I had a lot of good memories of Winterfest and sorely miss it, true it had to deal with the fickle weather patterns where one week it would be too hot for ice skating, then the next week be so cold it was too miserable to even walk from building to buidling. I have also heard that the festival was not a money maker, and as I recall it was supposed to end after the tenth festival even before Paramount bought the park. Of course eliminating Winterfest did nothing to help Paramount's image when family stuff started disapearing from the park. (Namely the big broadway style show the first season). I beleive that the park has almost overcompensated and is going full tilt in the family direction, the only thing the park lacks is quality live shows.

Many years after its removal a hot rumour that spread around the park was that it would be coming back 'next year', so far it never has. In fact one year the Cincinnati Enquirer got a hold of an unreliable 'leak' and actually printed a 'return of winterfest' story, along with two other rumours that never came true. Those would be WaterWorks becoming a second gate with a seperate admission charge, and the real kicker, that International Street would be remodeled so that the turnstiles were at the Eiffel Tower end of the street, and IS would become a year-round shopping venue.

BTW: Does anoyone elese remember the year the Smurf's Enchanted Voyage was taken out, guests were offered the chance to see the Smurfs one more time during Winterfest as they were placed alongside the Antique Car ride.

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David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville

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Friday, September 27, 2002 12:50 PM
I remember the rumors well enough. Could be done though. They need to do somthing to get rid of the walk way to waterworks. The train is good but they need a bigger people mover or somthing back there ala challange park.

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Be nice to ride op's. No matter how slow unfriendly and uncaring they may seem Most work hard to make your day great.

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Friday, September 27, 2002 1:42 PM

Winterfest was wondeful. No one's mentioned the most striking change, which was turning the Eiffel Tower into a massive Christmas tree, with strings of lights from top to bottom and a huge star at the top.

I have very fond memories of riding Enchanted Voyage in the cold weather. Also, from when I was in high school, I have fond memories of sneaking onto Coney Mall and walking around the deserted rides and arcades.... until a cop yelled at us. ;)

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He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking; can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

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Friday, September 27, 2002 1:56 PM
KI used to have really high quality shows. The Festhaus was more than a tape loop of old videos and TV shows. For a period of time they had ice shows inside, like BGT has today at the Moroccan Palace. The IStreet theater had great shows too, with live musicians, not just taped playback. It does seem like Paramount, being in the entertainment business, would put some more emphasis on the live enetertainment. I would think that the production costs of a decent music show shouldn't be too high. Music royalties/permissions would probably be the largest cost.

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Sometimes lurkers speak . . .

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Friday, September 27, 2002 2:52 PM
The show they had in the paramount theater was pretty good. I Went to the country music thingy last time iw as there. It was done away with cause the weather here sucks. We had a winter party last year for the rides dept. It was cold but the place really looked neat.

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Be nice to ride op's. No matter how slow unfriendly and uncaring they may seem Most work hard to make your day great.

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Friday, September 27, 2002 3:55 PM
I never did get to go to Winterfest, much to my dismay. I would love to have it come back, maybe to work. The Festival of Lights at the Zoo bites.

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smile...it's cheap, and people will wonder what you're up to. :)

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