Here comes Halloween!

Our second annual Happy Halloween Weekends begin on Saturday.

Here's an aerial view of the two corn mazes:

Happy Halloween Weekends corn maze

What other treats are in store for this year? Here's a preview:

Tickets for Happy Halloween Weekends are available here on our website at the discounted rate of $24.95.

We will never forget

The sky, 12 years ago today, was a beautiful shade of blue, much like today.

We will never forget.

God bless the victims. And the survivors.

May today remind us to hug our children, our spouses and partners, our parents, our friends, and those who run into – and not away from – disaster.

God bless America.

1

A time for good-byes and hallows

This is the time of year when we tend to hear, "Why didn't you tell me? I wish I'd known!" a lot.

So here goes:

This weekend, September 14 and 15, is the final weekend of the season for:

  • Santa (back to the North Pole he goes!)
  • Splashin' Safari (it is mid-September, after all)
  • High-dive show (ditto)
  • Dancer's Thunder Bumpers Jr. (watch for the new pool next season!)

This weekend, we'll also have some different entertainment.

On Saturday, the country stylings of Matt Enik:

Matt EnikMatt is a student in Nashville, Tennessee, who put together this country band with some college friends.

He hails from a small town in West Virgina. We have a hunch he'll feel right at home here in Santa Claus.

Here's a sneak preview:

Zachary WatsonAnd on both Saturday and Sunday this week- end, we'll treat you to shows with this zany guy named Zachary Watson.

Zachary is a moti- vation- al speak- er who gets a little crazy with three little props he calls Trix Stix.

Take a look:

You may notice this weekend that we've already begun decorating for our Happy Halloween Weekends, which begin on September 21 this year.

We'll have lots more information about Happy Halloweens Weekends soon.

Meanwhile, here's a look at last year's main-stage show, Graveyard Smash.

Santa selfie

With "selfie" photos all the rage this summer, it was time for a Santa selfie.

Santa was happy to comply (once we explained "selfie" to him):

Santa selfie

Santa's here one last weekend (September 14 and 15) before heading back to the North Pole for some pre-Christmas preparations. Hope you can join us!

Holidog ate my homework

Um, good luck with that …

Lost & Found

Another happy ending …

Bringing home the lucite

"Let's bring home the lucite" was Will's annual joke as it got close to Golden Ticket Awards time.

He loved to win.

This evening, his daughters Lauren and Leah accepted the "Best Waterpark Ride" award for Wildebeest. Our first water coaster has won all four years since it opened.

Lauren called Wildebeest her dad's "final dream"; the two twentysomethings were charming as they talked about their dad, who passed away three years ago.

"I want to make a correction," quipped Leah. "People seem to think we named it 'Will-da-beast.' Uh … no. That was a coincidence."

Lauren and Leah Koch at the Golden Ticket Awards

Other well-deserved awards went to Dollywood, Cedar Point, Kings Island … and then it was our turn again.

Cleanest Park Award accepted by Matt EckertThe Cleanest Park Golden Ticket Award goes to … Holiday World & Splashin' Safari!

Matt headed up on stage to accept "the lucite" and on the way, picked up a piece of trash.

He thanked our amazing Hosts and Hostesses for their hard work keeping our parks so clean. Our Sweepers and Cleaning Crews definitely need to take a bow, but the award is shared with everyone here.

"This is the fourteenth year we've received this award," said Matt. "We'll be sure to be back for #15 next year."

All three of our wooden coasters made the Top 20 list, Splashin' Safari was again named the #2 water park, and we also came in second for Friendliest Park. It was a good night.

Here's a look at all the winners.

2013 Golden Ticket Award winners

Parks from all over the world attended this ceremony and stories as varied as opening a new park to surviving Superstorm Sandy were shared.

The full list of categoires and winners is on the Golden Ticket Awards website.

Congratulations to all!

A HoliHint countdown

Growing up, Mom called us "itchy britches" when we kept asking her the same question.

"Are we there yet?" was only the beginning …

To help calm (or perhaps fuel) the curiosity about 2014, we will – beginning today – post a daily HoliHint here on the HoliBlog.

We've already divulged that our "what's new" for 2014 will be revealed during September, and that we can't (or, actually, won't) tell you the date ahead of time, because that would probably give it away. (Thanks a lot, Google!)

Today's HoliHint: In 2014, there will not be an increase in ticket prices.

We really mustache you …

Don’t these peanut-butter-and-chocolate mustaches look delicious?

Jacqulin and Jacie from Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen are in their first day of candy-making training for Happy Halloween Weekends, which begin September 21.