Guests at DelGrosso's Amusement Park will enjoy a new ride while those visiting Lakemont Park will enjoy some new food choices during the 2012 season.
DelGrosso's will kick off its 65th season with two hours of free rides from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Park officials are excited about the 2012 season.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Chris Harpster, an assistant manager at Lakemont Park, gets the milk can game ready for the park’s opening on June 2.
"My grandfather [Fred DelGrosso] had a simple mission statement: Provide high quality food and entertainment in a clean, safe and friendly environment at a fair price. Sixty-five years later, we are still following that same mission," said Carl Crider Jr., general manager and park president.
Lakemont Park will open May 26 for the Memorial Day weekend. Lakemont switched to a late May opening in 2007.
"We found it works better for us. It takes us longer to get ready. We have to take down all of the Christmas lights and get the rides back up," said Melissa Vyborny, general manager. "May is questionable, weatherwise. People are not into the summer mindset yet, and it just works better for us."
DelGrosso's guests will enjoy a new ride - the "Swing Buggy" brought in from Grizzly Jack's Grand Bear Resort in Utica, Ill., to replace the Flying Bobs.
"This is a great looking ride. I am excited to give the Swing Buggy a new home at our park. There is no doubt that it will soon become a guest favorite," said Scott Crider, vice president of operations.
DelGrosso's also "retired" the Space Odyssey ride.
"Space Odyssey was an older ride and needed to be retired. New rides are hard to find. Our operations guy, Scott Crider, is still searching for a ride. Scott is taking his time to find the best ride possible," said Amy Mearkle, DelGrosso's spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, Lakemont Park officials decided to take over their own food operations.
The new Bubba's Barbecue Shack will feature such items as pulled pork, pulled chicken and barbecued chicken, Vyborny said.
DelGrosso's has raised the price for its all-day fun pass for rides and the water park by a dollar to $16.95. In May and September, when the water park is not open, the rate is $12.95.
An all-day ride and slide pass at Lakemont remains priced at $9.95, with special Dollar Day rates of $5 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, Vyborny said. Last year, Lakemont expanded the Dollar Days to three days.
"Wednesdays went so well and the way the economy is, it worked out well for families," Vyborny said.
DelGrosso's has added more credit card locations within the park so guests can use Mastercard or Visa to purchase food. Credit cards also will be accepted at Spaghetti Wednesdays, which begin June 6, Mearkle said.
What to watch for
Both parks will feature plenty of special events.
DelGrosso's free concert series will feature country singer Hunter Hayes on June 3; country singer Mark Chesnutt on Aug. 5; and a Contemporary Christian Concert featuring Reilly and For King and Country on Sept. 2.
Other highlights include Summer Thunder on July 4; the 15th annual Native American Pow Wow on July 21 and 22; the 23rd annual Italian Food & Heritage Festival on Sept. 23; and Harvestfest Sept. 29 and 30.
Lakemont's highlights include Wing-offs on Thursdays from July 16 to Aug. 16; the annual Kruisin' Weekend Aug. 17 to 19; and the Altoona First Festival Sept. 8 and 9.
DelGrosso's officials noted that anyone going to the park via Interstate 99 will need to take Exit 45 at Grazierville because of a bridge construction project on Business Route 220 between Bellwood and the park.
"We have been trying to educate people. We have been working with PennDOT. A lot of signage has been put up on I-99," Mearkle said. "It is a little bit of a headache. We are asking people to be patient."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.