Opening day of the brand-new Festival of Wonder!
For the last 20 years or so, the opening of World-Fest really marks the beginning of the season for Silver Dollar City. Yes, the park opens about three weeks earlier, but with no shows and only minimal craftsfolks, it's a bit empty. World-Fest always brings the park to life....only it is no more.
In its place, like a Phoenix from the Fire (oooh, foreshadowing) rises Festival of Wonder. In many ways this really is still World-Fest. It has a lot of the same vibes, with the emphasis on shows and food. In recent years, though, World Fest was having difficulty coming up with enough performers to fill all the venues. The change of theme has revitalized this shoulder season festival in a major way, and it made for an incredible day.
First up was the X-Pogo show on the square. It features skateboard-type stunts on both spring and pneumatic pogos in a high-energy atmosphere. If you're a child of the 90s like me, you'll recognize many of the trick names. Tony Hawk did every one of those at some point.
Once the food venues opened up at 11, it was time to head to...
There are so many Foods of Wonder. I'm going to have to go once a week or so through this festival just to try them all. They do have a buffet from 3-6 on Saturdays with all of the festival foods for about $24. Not a bad deal if you want to have everything.
My first choice today was a twist on the specialty of my hometown of Springfield, Missouri: Cashew Chicken Waffle Cone!
When going to a theme park, you really should go first to the attraction you are most excited about. I wanted to make sure I saw Phoenix Fire, and they only have three shows daily, so I went there first to make sure I saw it.
These dancers are incredible. They use LED and real fire effects in choreography and individual performances. I can't stress enough that every one of you needs to see one of their shows. Hopefully at SDC during Festival of Wonder, but if not, they tour a lot: https://www.phoenixfiredancers.com
Though not officially part of the Festival of Wonder, it was also opening day for the new saloon show, Sagebrush Sadie's Wild West Adventure. These saloon shows don't change an awful lot from year to year, but there is some new banter and some new dad jokes to groan at. I liked the Night Court parody especially.
Juggler Albert Lucas is back again with all his hits, and he is also out to set a new record for most objects ever juggled at SDC. He did it, juggling 10 ringy dingy ding-a-ling dings at once!
Next up was CirqUnique. I am always up for one of these theme park knockoffs of Cirque du Soliel. This one had a really cool balancing act that I hadn't seen before, as well as an acrobat duo, a juggler, a clown, and one of the same Wheel of Danger acrobats that I saw at Kings Island last year. Good show!
After the show, I went back to the Frisco Barn for another Food of Wonder: crab fries! These are waffle fries with Old Bay, just like Chickie's and Pete's, but topped with actual crab meat! So good. Best crab fries ever.
I Harp Extreme is maybe a bit overhyped. I mean, maybe it's extreme for harp music. Really though, it was a beautiful relaxing show that was just perfect after the adrenaline-pumping shows earlier in the day. The sextet were all wonderful musicians and played a wide variety of music. I was like half the age of the next youngest person in the audience, but whatever. Those harpists kicked ass.
Last show was PaintJam with Dan Dunn. I'm so glad to see him return. Last year he had a substitute because he was undergoing chemotherapy. But he is an awesome dude and has beaten the cancer and is back at jammin' some paint like the badass artist he is. It was a great show as always. Dan Dunn is a genuinely good dude.
So that brings us to the end of Day 1. Festival of Wonder is a hit with me! If you can make it down here sometime in the next three weeks, do it! It's a great time.
Shows - 6
Rides - 0
Foods of Wonder - 2
Beers - 0