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29 June 2011 - 7:25pm
Tonight's the night. We all get to tune in and watch The Travel Channel.
For tonight, Bert the Conqueror will conqueror ... Indiana.
Bert is the host of this crazy show where he goes from state to state--and often from park to park--trying to conquer his fears.
Fear of heights.
Fears of high speeds.
Fear of looking like a fool.
Or sounding like one.
Oh, that laugh. Bert's laugh in infectious.
In the above photo, he's sitting in our Voyage roller coaster train, waiting for the camera and audio guys to get everything ready to go.
He's going to ride with Dan Koch, our president. You'll notice Dan is already holding on tight.
Those two got along like a couple of fraternity brothers. The off-camera antics were hilarious. (And don't worry, Bert's seatbelt fit him just fine.)
Bert made friends with Mrs. Koch, too...
...plus Bert got to meet one of his heroes.
They compared beards, bellies and laughs:
And tonight, the episode premieres: on Travel Channel at 9pm CT (which is 10pm ET and PT).
We can't wait to see how he does in championing the world's longest water coaster and the world's top-ranked wooden coaster.
Our wonderful "extras" sure made it look easy...
Many thanks to Bert, the Travel Channel, and the fabulous folks at Sharp Entertainment. You conquered our hearts.
19 June 2011 - 4:21pm
Here in rural southern Indiana, there's a saying we hear (usually spoken by an old-timer with a dutchy accent) when there's an unseasonal cold snap in late spring: The Ice Man Cometh.
Here at the park, we like to add another word to that phrase: The Ice Cream Man Cometh.
It looked like the Ice Cream Man brought his own special effects the other day when Nathan snapped this photo:
Mark the Ice Cream Man was delivering his goods to Kringle's Ice Cream up in the Christmas section.
We asked Jason, our Food & Beverage chief, for the scoop on which is the most popular hand-dipped ice cream flavor here. It's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.
Here's a list of our other seven flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Rocky Road, Chocolate Chip Mint and Sugar-Free Butter Pecan.
Jason says the answer to the "Cup or Cone" question falls pretty evenly. When it comes to "Sugar Cone or Waffle Cone?" sugar wins out.
As a dairy farmer's wife, I have to milk this for one last pun ... I herd Mark sure has a cool job. (Okay, sorry, that was two.)
17 June 2011 - 6:03pm
Despite our best efforts to make these little fellas feel right at home, this trio of newcomers decided to search our Christmas section for a taste of home.
...and so this was our "Prize Pics" contest photo for the week:
Shuffling just a few feet away from their home at the Bean Bag Toss game, this cuddly group quickly spotted the Dippin’ Dots freezer beneath the shade of our giant Christmas tree out on Christmas Plaza.
The penguin trio knew it would be the perfect place to get an arctic blast to remind them of home.
Do you think these colorful penguins sampled some Dippin’ Dots while they cooled off? Yummmmm...we have Cookies ‘n Cream, Banana Split, Chocolate, and Rainbow Ice (just in case you were wondering).
Congratulations to this week’s winners of two one-day tickets who correctly identified the whereabouts of the penguins:
- Matt B. of Brownstown, Ind.
- Terri P. of Murfreesboro, Tenn.
- Tammy W. of Hopkinsville, Ky.
Want to play next week? Be sure to sign up for our free e-newsletter.
15 June 2011 - 1:07pm
There must be a lot of Angry Birds fans out there!
Psssttt…here's an insider tip: a little birdie told me the Angry Birds characters will soon be available as prizes at Merlin’s Castle in the Halloween section.
From the roof of The Alamo to the rocks at Bahari, this week’s guesses flew all over the park.
The spot where this Angry Bird landed, though, was on the head of "Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son" located in Mother Goose Land. You see Tom running with that portly little piggy when you take a ride on The Freedom Train and hear the accompanying nursery rhyme:
Tom, Tom, the piper's son, Stole a pig, and away did run;
The pig was eat And Tom was beat,
And Tom went crying Down the street.
From the looks of the photo, the Evil Green Pig who stole the Angry Bird’s egg thought he would find some solace with another oinker.
Many years ago, the Travel Editor of the Indianapolis Star remarked that he thought Tom was modeled after then-actor Ronald Reagan. We'll never know for sure, but he does bear a resemblance to the Gipper, don't you think?
Congratulations to this week’s winners, who each receive two one-day tickets to the park:
- Andrea B. of Evansville, Ind.
- Lucia S. of New Albany, Ind.
- Debbie W. of Ekron, Ky.
Want to join the fun? Sign up for our e-newsletter and watch for the next challenge.
6 June 2011 - 2:05pm
She was independent and hard-working. She was smart and she was funny.
And she lived to be 100.
But sadly, our beloved "flower lady," Frieda Foertsch, passed away yesterday.
From 1954 until 2009, Frieda graced us with her formidable presence. Whether working the front gate, helping in the kitchen, sewing a new red suit for Santa Claus, or tending to the park's flowers, she's offered a work ethic and kind humor that has inspired generations of young workers.
We gathered in 2009 to honor Frieda, whose retirement was due to a stroke. Until then, she'd proudly stated she had no plans to retire, because "no rocking chair can hold me."
Here's Will Koch, sharing some memories:
Frieda's response to all the fuss? I'd like to thank the Kochs for putting up with me all these years.
Over the years, she's appeared as a calendar girl, won a state-wide honor, been featured in a pictorial history book, and even got 15 seconds of fame on "60 Minutes."
In the year 2000, she was named Indiana's Outstanding Older Worker.
Here she is with Will, Bill and Pat Koch. She was truly one of the family:
As part of her award, she spent a week in Washington, D.C., and had a meeting with our state's members of Congress.
She brought along a list of topics to discuss.
Looking back a full century, even as a baby, Frieda had an inquisitive look:
She grew up in Evansville.
Here she is as a young girl. She told me once she rode a roller coaster at Mesker Park as a child and vowed never to ride another. And she kept that promise.
A reporter asked me this afternoon what Frieda thought about all the changes she witnessed at the park as it grew from Santa Claus Land to Holiday World.
That really made me think. How many of us would fall into the category of "resistant to change"? Not Frieda. She was so proud and happy to hear about each new water slide and roller coaster. She just thought it was great.
After years helping out in our Foods and Admissions Departments, Frieda became our "flower lady." (I loved the pun in calling her our "plant manager," but it never stuck.)
Even in this position, Frieda constantly looked for ways to grow prettier and more robust flowers.
And she was proud of her work.
Although Frieda retired from Holiday World in 2009, she stayed sharp and kept learning. She surrounded herself with friends and books. Although she called herself a "lady of leisure," she kept busy.
Frieda had a ball at her 100th birthday party last fall. Here's Mrs. Koch, celebrating with her:
When I sent a note to our full-time staff that Frieda had passed away, I ended it with "rest in peace, Frieda."
On second thought, Frieda "resting" just seems absurd to those of us who knew and loved her. We picture her instead having a serious discussion with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates about the general appearance of heaven's "admissions" area. She's probably on her knees, trusty trowel in hand, spading up the dirt in preparation for a new batch of colorful flowers.
Frieda's legacy here at the park, though, is so much more than flowers. It is her devotion to doing whatever it took to make the park the very best it could be. It is her fun sense of humor and friendly spirit.
Indeed, in her 55 years at Santa Claus Land and Holiday World, she planted so much more than flowers here...
(A memorial service for Frieda will be held Wednesday, June 8, at 2pm CDT at Alexander North Funeral Home on Stringtown Road in Evansville.)