Could be hobbit-forming

Our nation heaved a collective sigh last fall when word spread that Twinkies were going the way of the dinosaur.

Some were relieved to have one less sugary temptation, while others' disappointment knew no bounds.

But this is America and it wasn't long before a plan was hatched to bring them back. To bring them back on Monday, July 15.

And so shall we:

Deep-fried Twinkies

Yes, indeed. Deep-fried Twinkies with confectioner's sugar and a drizzle of raspberry sauce will be served at the Funnel Cake Factory (in 4th of July) starting Monday afternoon.

But first, we have to celebrate with a mouth-watering contest.

On Monday, plan on stopping by the Hoosier Celebration Theater (conveniently located across the walkway from the Funnel Cake Factory) to witness – or even participate in – our TwinkieMania Contest.

In a nutshell (or, should I saw, a Twinkie wrapper), four contestants at a time will be each given three deep-fried Twinkies to gobble down in 60 seconds. Whoever finishes all three of their confections first (or whoever consumes the most in the 60 seconds) receives a round of applause and our undying admiration. Oh, and a $10 HoliCash gift card.

We plan to have five rounds of gluttony … er, sweet fun … during the half hour. If you'd like to sign up to be a contestant, please stop by the theater any time after 12:30pm CDT this Monday and fill out a very brief entry form.

As we've pulled all sorts of strings to get our Twinkie supply here early Monday morning (it hasn't been easy), the only quote I could ever remember from the Lord of the Rings movie has been banging around in my brain: Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys …

Hobbits, after all, are sort of like Santa's Elves, aren't they?

And so perhaps it's not too big of a stretch to proclaim: Looks like Twinkie's back on the menu, boys …

Smash forward

It may be only July, but we've already fast-forwarded deep into September and October.

We're getting ready for our Happy Halloween Weekends.

Right now, we're looking for five guys and five ghouls for our Graveyard Smash show.

Graveyard Smash

Here's a snippet from last year's show:

If you know anyone who'd like to audition (including yourself!) please let them know auditions are July 21.

Why, oh why …

… oh, why?!

A shirt even a dummy could love

Look what's new at the HoliShop!

Keep Calm and Ride VoyageThat's right.

This test dummy's family went all the way to Holiday World and all they brought back was this shirt.

Actually, though, this is a limited-edition shirt, available only through our online shop, the HoliShop.

Our friends with the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain told us we weren't being too cheeky when we showed them this "Keep Calm and Ride Voyage" design a few weeks ago.

And if anyone figures out how to calmly ride Voyage, please be sure and post some tips!

This dummy hasn't quite figured it out yet …

Like father, like son

How cute is this?

Thunder Bumpers Jr. at Holiday World

Geoff's mom, Bonnie, posted this on our Facebook page, granting us permission to re-post it here.

Sharing photos taken 27 years apart. In 1986 my son was LOVING the same ride that his son was LOVING a few weeks ago in 2013!

Thank You for your continued dedication to providing good clean fun and entertainment for generations of families!

Brutal honesty

… brutally blue, that is:

“Let’s be honest, this is the real reason anyone comes here:”

Rockets red glare

No other line from any other patriotic tune comes to mind more readily than "rockets red glare" when you look at this photo:

Fireworks over Holiday World

It had been a long, wonderful day … and I'm so glad I dragged my bones all the way down to Hyena Falls to take a crack at photographing our annual fireworks celebration.

Armed with just my trusty iPhone4 (and for once in my left-handed life, remembering which way to hold the phone for rightside-up photos) I snapped away madly.

The phone's slow shutter took its time, but did catch a few memorable shots, if I do say so myself.

By the way, if you're a thrill-seeker, Hyena Falls was the place to be for our fireworks. The ground trembled and our ears throbbed with the closeness of the pyrotechnics.

It's sort of like a ride on Voyage – you know you're safe, but it sure messes with your mind.

Meanwhile, Nathan had the good camera up on top of ZOOMbabwe, grabbing some cool wide shots.

Fireworks over Holiday World

Giraffica's tower and Voyage's lift hill are each about 165 feet tall. These fireworks go halfway to heaven …

Fireworks over Bakuli

But I must say my favorite photo was tweeted later that night by a dad, who said it was okay to use this darling shot of his daughter, Seven, with her two best friends.

Holiday and Kitty Claws with a little friend

Thanks to everyone who spent America's birthday with us. Many happy returns of the day to us all.

Stars and stripes forever

Yes, despite the few drips of rain, we do plan to have our fireworks show tonight at 9pm CT.

Thanks to Chad at WFIE-TV for helping to spread the word:

Fireworks are still on for tonight!

Tonight, we will dedicate our fireworks ceremony to all the servicemen and servicewomen who have sacrificed  so much to keep us free.

Here's one military family, from Louisville, posing for a photo with park president Matt Eckert.

Matt and the Gatz family

Sergeant John Gatz and his wife, Christina, have three children. The Operation Helping Heroes organization in Louisville introduced us. Sergeant Gatz served in the Gulf War and again in Afghanistan; he is now home with his family and working to help other disabled veterans.

We honor and thank the Gatz family – and every military family – for their service. Their selfless dedication to our nation ensures that we the people are able to celebrate yet another Independence Day.