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Knoebels Discussion Thread

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Hi everybody I was out at Knoebels today for some photos of Flying Turns. Rain was the order of the day. Anyway I have 24 photos from today up on my site if you would like to take a look. I was told that half of the structure is done and about 1/6th of track is complete. I was also told that there is one more layer of wood that goes on the track. Here are a few photos from today and you can see the rest here at this quick link in my site. http://www.johnnyupsidedown.com/new2007ft.html

Here are a few.

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What's up with those metal tab things sticking out over the top of the trough.. are those going to be covered or removed? Anyone know what they are for?


Just a guess but I am thinking they are like a safety railing. If the train gets up that high in the track it will be pushed back down. Kinda like a bobsled track where they have a railing to keep the car in the trough.

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^ If those were saftey railings wouldn't they end up being kind of dangerous sticking out like that?


I just figured they looked like temporary molds used to form the track, and will be removed once the track is complete.


Unless I'm missing what you're actually pointing at.

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As I said just a guess. It could also be that the pieces will be removed later on in the construction process I really dont know. I wish I would have asked the workers that I was talking to while they were on break. Oh well . PPP is coming soon and I would think some of the enthsiasts that attend the event may ask about the pieces. Its even possible that a type of netting will cover the track area.

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  • 5 weeks later...

ok, not much in this thread lately but so much progress has been made on the turns recently. Just checking out the cams now, that lift structure sure went up fast, as well as part of the tracking that must have gone up either over night or just this morning! Looks like a reg. wooden coaster lift too (which it is for the most part) Its all happening so fast recently, I can't wait to see the helix (is that suppose to be the tunnel part?). Anyway, moving along quite well and its cool to see all of the recent photo TRs with updated pics as well.

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Just an interesting article about Knoebels. I like the part about Six Flags "It didn't workout real well there, did it?" haha. Also, 1.2/1.3 mill is impressive IMO>


Posted on Sun, Sep. 17, 2006

reprint or license this

Knoebels: Family fun, family run


The (Allentown) Morning Call


ELYSBURG, Pa. - Clouds block the sun on the last Wednesday morning of the season at Knoebels Amusement Park & Resort. But the parking lot fills with cars nonetheless, as families turn out for a final taste of summer.


This year has been less kind than most to Knoebels, which straddles three townships and two counties in an area so rural, the park doesn't have a street address. (Its location is commonly given as Elysburg, a Northumberland County village about two hours from the Lehigh Valley.)


Heavy flooding in late June washed out a few days of business at the park, which remains open weekends until Sept. 24. After the park reopened, some visitors stayed away, under the impression the park had been harder hit.


"People thought we were down and in trouble, even though we did the best we could to get the word out," said Joe Muscato, a former college professor who married into the Knoebel family and now handles PR for the park. "Life was a little slower than we anticipated."


As Knoebels fought the floods, though, it continued a remarkable winning streak among amusement-park fans.


The rustic park with the '50s-vintage bumper cars, the wooden roller coasters and the hard "K" in its name holds its own each year alongside mega-park operators such as Disney and Six Flags in the Golden Ticket awards, a survey-based honor given by trade paper Amusement Today.


Knoebels placed third in Best Park in this year's Golden Tickets, announced last month, beating out Disneyland and Busch Gardens Europe. Knoebels won the Best Food category, topping names such as Epcot and Dollywood. And it placed in the top five for friendliest staff, best Halloween event and best dark ride - a tribute to Knoebels' haunted house, built in 1973 when the park was rebounding from another nasty flood.


"We're always pleased about the company we keep," Muscato said.


Woodsy, glitz-free, pay-as-you-ride, Knoebels is everything the super-parks are not. And yet, Knoebels has built its own distinctive formula for success.


An example: When Knoebels looked for a new ride, it steered clear of supercharged triple-loop roller coasters. Instead, the big new attraction next year will be a re-creation of the "flying turns," a banked, wooden train-style ride that disappeared from other parks in the late 1960s.


The flying turns won't pull anyone's cheeks back with G-forces. But it's a safe bet that the last Wednesday of next year's season will again find grandparents and shaggy-haired teens flocking to Knoebels, waiting under rain clouds for a turn to ride.


"Knoebels is building a good tradition," said Gary Slade, publisher of Amusement Today. "They've got a good thing rolling."


The Knoebels story goes back about a century, to the days when Henry Knoebel let Sunday picnickers use his family's farmland.


Those visitors loved to swim in the twin creeks that cut through the land, Roaring Creek and Mugser's Run. So when Henry Knoebel developed his land into an amusement park, he built it around the water - a decision that comes back to haunt park officials when the creeks rise. Muscato said this year's attendance will be "fine" despite the flood, but will fall short of the company's high goals.


Knoebels opened July 4, 1926, with a pool, a steam-powered carousel, a few games and a restaurant, according to the company.


The park has grown since, in a rambling fashion that can make it confusing for first-timers to navigate. A few years ago, Knoebels even swallowed a short stretch of state-owned highway that visitors had to cross to get from one part of the park to another. Cars now follow a route around the park, while the original bridge, roadway and state route sign remain inside.


Some parts of Knoebels have not changed amid the growth. Henry Knoebel's grandsons, Dick and Buddy, run the park as co-general managers. Eleven family members worked full- or part-time at Knoebels this year, Dick Knoebel said. The park employs 130 people year-round, and up to 1,800 on a seasonal basis.


Other families, working as outside contractors, have run the Playland arcade since 1931 and the Fascination game since 1951. The park's Grand Carousel has spun since the 1940s.


Perhaps the most important constant, though, is the park's open-gate policy. Knoebels offers free admission, free parking and free picnic areas. Visitors pay at the ticket booths to take the rides they want, at a price of 60 cents to $3 per ride.


The open gate has its drawbacks. Knoebels officials say they never know exactly how many people come, though they estimate the park gets 1.2 million to 1.3 million visits a year. Key markets include southern New York, New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, including the Lehigh Valley: "We've been drawing well out of there," Muscato said.


But, judging from interviews with visitors, the open gate ranks among Knoebels' biggest draws. Time and again, parents and grandparents said they like being able to enter for free, especially when they have no plans to ride.


"We can come in and walk around with (our children) without being hit for a $30 cover charge just to come in," said Jane Logue of Phoenixville, Chester County, who came with her husband, Jim, and their two sons.


"Free admission is the best part ever," added Cathi Schwartz of Hegins Township, Schuylkill County, who brought her 2-year-old son to the park. "You pay for the rides you go on."


Others said they enjoy the variety and old-school flavor of Knoebels' rides.


"They've got something for everybody," said Michelle Howland of Binghamton, N.Y., at the park with her husband, two daughters and their friends. "They've got thrill rides, they've got kiddie rides. They've got wooden roller coasters, which are just as much of a thrill."


Knoebels' open gate and old-style rides have helped it survive a gradual winnowing of family-run parks, as large companies play a bigger role in the amusement industry. Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom of South Whitehall Township, for instance, is owned by Cedar Fair LLP, which operates 12 large parks in the United States and Canada.


In other industries, big players have shouldered out smaller ones through economies of scale. A regional or national department-store chain, for instance, can buy clothing more cheaply than a single local store.


Muscato argues the bigger-is-better trend does not apply to amusement parks, though. Small parks such as Knoebels are "a different animal" from large corporate parks, which have a different atmosphere, he said.


Knoebels does not consider Dorney, Hersheypark and other, larger regional parks to be rivals, because their rides and ambience differ so sharply from those of Knoebels. And the Elysburg park has no plans to ditch its rustic atmosphere in favor of higher-speed thrills.


"Some people like us. Some people like that," Muscato said, referring to big parks. "Some people like both. Our only goal is to take care of the people who like us."


Also, the big-company, big-park model does not always succeed. Six Flags, one of America's largest and best-known theme-park operators, lost money last year and announced plans to sell some locations.


"Look at the Six Flags model," Muscato said, without gloating but with a certain quiet satisfaction. "It didn't work out real well there, did it?"


Some family parks have given way to real estate redevelopment. Knoebels' relative isolation guards against that kind of buyout, though it also ensures that few travelers find the park by accident.


Family parks like Knoebels are not yet rare or endangered, industry experts say. Slade, of Amusement Today, said a few other such parks win Golden Tickets each year - such as Kennywood of West Mifflin, Allegheny County, which also placed on the top 10 list of Best Parks. The Golden Tickets are based on a survey of several hundred amusement-park aficionados in all areas of the United States, as well as several from other countries.


Dick Knoebel ambles into the park office on the overcast Wednesday. He is 67, lives next to the park and has worked there all his life except for a stint in the military. His phone starts ringing with park-related calls at 8 a.m., and does not stop until 11 p.m. some nights.


"I don't see myself slowing down too much," said Knoebel, who sometimes sees former girlfriends in the park with their grandchildren. "I've slowed down a little bit. Some days, I don't get down here until 8:30."


His goal, he says, is to keep Knoebels the way people know it. He is driven, among other things, by the old saw that the third generation of family ownership tends to be the one that runs a company aground.


"I'm not going to let that happen," he said, before the daily demands of the park took him out the door in other directions.


Muscato said the park will likely do more advertising in the Southern Tier of New York, to stir up more business there. The park also plans to keep adding attractions, whether rides or restaurants, so "there's always something new here," he said.


And, if more Golden Tickets come Knoebels' way, that's an added bonus.


"There's a certain sense of validation," he said.

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Yeah I check the cam every day, today will be interesting with PPP going on. I wonder if Dick will have any new announcements in store for 2007. I could see them throwing in another flat maybe for next year as well, or maybe (as Im always hoping) a little something for the Crystal Pool. I always thought with its small footprint a bowl slide would fit them nicely lol. A flat is more likely though if anything.

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Saturday, I was invited (along with Coastin Steve) by Leonard Adams to take a walking tour of the turns. Here are some shots:


Two of the construction guys talking about how the turns will negotiate the track.


I guess I can now be credited as a buider


Temporary supports are being used to assist construction.


The lift hills transition to the trough.


A shot from the lifthill.


You can see pictures of the whole tour at:


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