DelGrosso’s continues traditions of food, fun

TIPTON — DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton is open for the summer with entertainment, food favorites plus a few new additions.

Amy Mearkle, the park’s marketing director, said the Ride Park and Water Park is open seven days a week through Aug. 26.

This month will round out with a visit from “Daniel Tiger,” a character from “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” Mearkle said. The children’s favorite will be on hand as part of WPSU Kids’ Day with Daniel Tiger on June 23.

The day will feature photo opportunities with the character, prizes and other special activities.

July kicks off with DelGrosso’s very popular 4thof July free fireworks display, called “Summer Thunder.” Later is another summer park tradition, the annual Native American Pow Wow Weekend at the Park. Scheduled for July 21 and 22, this year marks the 21st year for the event at the park, Mearkle said.

“It’s educational as well as being a lot of fun for everyone,” she said.

Animal lovers are invited to help their furry friends in August on Buddy Bear’s Dog Days of Summer Celebration. All they have to do is visit the park and bring at least two items for area animal shelters and they’ll receive half-off the cost of an all-day Fun Pass.

Finishing out the season, September has some of the best events. Although the park has summer-long free entertainment, this is the month for a free contemporary Christian music concert highlighted in a youth ministry festival sponsored by the nonprofit FrontLine Ministries.

The event, called “The Last Blast of Summer,” this year will feature the group “VERSES,” and singer Colton Dixon performing in the concert.

The last month of the season also brings favorite events such as Harvestfest, a traditional blend of food and craft vendors, a Civil War encampment and plenty of entertainment.

The finale at the park includes the 29th Annual Italian Food and Heritage Festival Sept. 23 capped off by the Antique Auto Club of America Show on Sept. 29 and 30.

Throughout the summer, in addition to rides, visitors may also enjoy the water park, especially its newest addition, the Laguna Splash comporprised of the Lazy River and the Wave Pool.

“Both of those are attractions that anyone can enjoy,” Mearkle said. “Kids of all ages can have fun and cool off in both of them.”

Of course, the other popular aspect of DelGrosso’s that draws the crowds is the great food. Whether it’s the delicious “Murf’s” potato salad that has become famous throughout the region, or Italian specialties served at the park made with the DelGrosso family’s own bottled sauces, there’s no end to the culinary delights available, both sweet and savory.

This season, management has made a few tweaks behind the scenes that guests won’t see, but hopefully they’ll notice a difference in a little faster service and maybe an even tastier product, said Carl Crider Jr., the park president.

One innovation will improve the barbecuing of their chicken and ribs, which they used to cook over charcoal. They bought two “feast beast” rotisseries, similar to what grocery stores use to cook chickens with, which is much more efficient, Crider said.

“All of that before involved a lot of heat and smoke, so we felt it was time to go ahead and change that,” he said. “It gives us a better overall product.”

Another change they made was the purchase of a pasta-making machine, which they bought from Italy. It’s also very efficient and can churn out the pasta quickly, serving several thousand in an hour, he said.

‘We’re just always trying to streamline the process,” he said.

Every Wednesday, the park offers “Spaghetti Wednesday,” which highlights a different type of pasta each week. On the Food portion of the park’s website, those entries marked “Homemade” under the Spaghetti Wednesday Menu are the days that will feature the pasta made on the pasta machine, Crider said.

Crider said he and other park staff work all year long to refine menus and other aspects to improve because the food and amusement park industry is constantly changing.

Besides, he said, it’s in their blood.

“We’re a food family and we get very excited about food,” Crider said.

For more information about DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, visit the website at www