So who won the HoliAuction?

Did you bid?

Our HoliAuction to raise money for the Red Cross fund for SuperStorm Sandy relief got quite lively at the end. Our system's "anti-sniping" feature went into overdrive, adding five minutes to the clock each time a last-minute bid was posted. Talk about a wild ride!

Ultimately, though, there's only one top bidder.

And so we are shipping this box of goodies off to Keith in St. Peters, Missouri.

So who is this guy?

Keith is a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. He's visited 96 parks around the world and has ridden more than 500 roller coasters.

… including The Voyage, one of his favorites.

So when he saw the opportunity to help raise storm-relief funds (top bid was nearly $2,000!) for the Red Cross and to add to his park-memorabilia collection, Keith started bidding.

Dan and Mrs. Koch autographed the hard hat and flags, plus Keith gets four tickets for his park visit next year, commemorative Christmas ornaments, a throw from our 60th anniversary season, a Legend patch from its inaugural year, and even a piece we saved from the old Santa Claus Land tower.

Meanwhile, if you've been meaning to chip in to help with the disaster relief, here's the link to the Red Cross's donation page. Thank you!

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Any lovely aromas coming out of your kitchen yet?

It's Thanksgiving week, when nearly everyone tries their hand at baking, roasting and even frying.

In our Thanksgiving-themed section, The Voyage tends to grab the glory. According to Travel Channel, it's the "most insane" wooden roller coaster out there, so accolades are rather appropriate.

But another ride, Gobbler Getaway, gets lots of kudos as well.

If you recognize this lady (did you know her name is Abigail?), then you've ridden Gobbler Getaway at least once.

Abigail explains the funky "turkey caller" and tells the story of long ago, in 1875, when Farmer Van Snoodle nearly had to cancel Thanksgiving in the sweet town of Autumn Falls!

Abigail has a photo of her ancestor – Farmer Van Snoodle – above the fireplace in her living room.

Did you know that little red thingy that hangs over the side of a turkey's beak is called a "snood"? I didn't either.

Wattle they think of next?

Happy Thanksgiving! (I know you're all thankful for the abundance of puns on this blog. Right?)

Flagging down some help

The other morning, we noticed the Coaster Cats were on top of The Raven's lift hill. They were performing the annual ritual of removing that year's flags.

And in the spring, they put up a lovely new set.

So what happens to the old, tattered flags?

We auction them!

Just about everyone seems to know someone on the East Coast who was affected by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. My folks live on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound. Their electricity was out for four days. My dad was an Eagle Scout, so he considered it a challenge. " … but after Hurricane Irene last year, your mom asked me to tone down my enthusiasm for roughing it," he told me. They're both 82.

They were lucky, though; their greatest loss was three containers of raspberry sorbet which melted all over the kitchen floor on the third day. "You mother wondered who – or what – I had stuffed in the freezer," my dad quipped. Ah, you hearty New Englanders, you.

Adam's from the East Coast, too. He managed a trip home to help out his dad and brother's family. His texted reports back to me were sobering. People are suffering.

So when we received this year's flags from Raven, we decided to put together an eclectic collection of fun items from the park for a big online auction, with proceeds going to the Red Cross and their Sandy relief efforts.

In all, the auction includes a box of goodies, some new and some very used: four tickets for 2013, a 60th anniversary throw, a Legend patch from its inaugural year, commemorative ornaments, the park flags from our front gate, a visitors hard hat, and even a chunk of metal we saved from the old Santa Claus Land water tower.

Here's where to check out all the details of our HoliAuction.

By the way, our rookie Coaster Cat – Drew – isn't in training to be a Santa's helper …

… he was chosen to be the Flag Keeper that day so the coaster flags could be safely transported back down the lift hill to us.

I must admit, when I first saw the above photo, I wondered what the heck Ross was doing to poor Drew! No worries though, Drew just had the best jacket for flag carrying and Ross was adding to the collection.

Our HoliAuction, by the way, runs through noon Eastern Time (11am Central) on Tuesday, November 20. Please be generous!

Santa’s chair

… is empty until he returns in May.

Until then, this pretty kitty is keeping it warm, and enjoying today's springlike sunshine.

Could it be … the real Kitty Claws?

Reindeer games

You never know what Nathan is going to come back with when he's been out in the park with our camera.

"You won't believe who was out at the front gate!"

Oh, no – did someone think we were open today?

"Apparently so … and they jumped a fence!"
 

Well, we didn't have to call Security about these line jumpers. Santa's reindeer, after all, get free "rein" around the park.

Of course, we had to play with this photo on our Facebook page, with the caption, "Um … the Moose out front should have told you …"

Those who caught the joke – our reference to perhaps the most memorable line from the hilarious 1983 movie "National Lampoon's Vacation" – were delighted.

Everyone else thought I was some kind of moron.

"That's not a moose – that's a deer. Duh!" And that's one of the nicer ones. The spam filter grabbed a few others.

Sigh.

When I posted an explanation, along with an "I feel so old" whine, it was great to see some young-uns chime in that they loved that classic comedy. A few former park employees from facilities around the country even chimed in with stories of their own.

This antlered guest gave us pause as well. If he thinks he's going to get away with that tippy-toe (er … tippy-hoof) business at the Height Measurement Station, he's got another thing coming!

 

As the leaves fall …

… new cabanas for 2013 are sprouting up by Mammoth.

We'll keep you updated all winter long as we add all sorts of special touches for the 2013 season.

Applause for Nick

We just got word that our Nick Burroughs has been named one of only three finalists world-wide for Best Male Performer!

The honor comes from the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA), the huge trade organization we've belonged to for decades.

Nick spent the summer wow-ing audiences in our high-energy Vinyl Daze show, produced by Matt Davenport Productions.

Our Director of Entertainment, Sandi Fortune, is a big fan, "Nick Burroughs is one of the most genuine and real people I have ever met. He is one of those people whom you really want to be a star. He is so worthy of this honor. I cannot even explain how talented he is."

Here's just a moment of Nick's award-winning talent:

The winner will be chosen from the three finalists (Michael Stiggers from Hersheypark and Peter Vawter from Universal Studios Japan are the other two) on November 14. Good luck, Nick!

Halloween may be over …

… but we've just heard The Voyage was named one of the 10 Scariest Rides in America by HauntWorld.com.

Here's what they had to say: This is a wooden roller coaster that I truly believe … if it were 10 feet longer it would kill you! This thrill coaster is without competition in a league of its own, because nothing prepares you for this screaming ride!

Meanwhile, here's this year's awesome pumpkin carving from Bryan B. in Strongville, Ohio. (Last year, he carved an equally magnificent Raven pumpkin.)

He popped this photo up on our Facebook page yesterday, where it was quickly declared a masterpiece.

Hope you don't mind one more reminder about our online survey regarding Happy Halloween Weekends. We plan to gather feedback for one more week and would be so glad to receive yours as we look ahead to 2013.

Cancer survivor’s ride of a lifetime

This email choked me up – thanks to Chris for letting us post it:

Dear Holiday World and Splashin' Safari,
 
Like most people who grew up in Southern Indiana, I grew up visiting "Santa Claus Land." My family visited very rarely back then, as I had a very modest upbringing. In my adult years, I have enjoyed coming back to HW/SS year after year with my family. I've never been much of a "rider," but I thoroughly enjoy the atmosphere and some of the calmer, gentler rides – and watching my niceces and nephews enjoy the park. In all those years of visiting, I would ride the Raven several times and the Legend once (I really am a big chicken), but never the Voyage – despite the urging of my family and friends.
 
In late 2010, I began chemotherapy and radiation therapy treatments – so I missed the 2011 season at Holiday World and Spashin' Safari. I am please to report, however, that I'm nearly my old self again – and a few weeks ago I finally conquered The Voyage. I figured if I could survive cancer treatment, I could certainly survive whatever a top-class wooden roller coaster could dish out.  It was the most liberating, exhilerating, fantastic experience of my life! A couple years ago I would not have even considered riding, but this year I knew I had to. It was significant for me to step out of my comfort zone and face what I feared. I felt compelled to write and say thank you for this emotional experience … and for all you do for our region. 
 
I can't wait to see you again in 2013!
 
Thank you so much!!
 
Chris C.
Jeffersonville, Indiana

P.S. Here's my photo from the Voyage (that's me in the back holding on with all my might).