Trading Swimsuits for Scarecrows

Millie Decorating

It’s sad to type this, but it’s official. Splashin’ Safari has closed for the 2017 season. I added that information to the “Ride Closures” section of our website first thing on Monday morning after the water park closed.

That can’t keep me down long though. If there’s one thing I love as much flying over the top of one of the hills on our water coasters, it’s fall. The crisp air, fall foliage, and being able to spend all day in my favorite sweatshirts.

Oh, and Halloween decorations. I go all out.

You can imagine my excitement last week when I ventured out into the park, camera in tow, to capture photos of the park as all our Halloween decorations started going up. The park transforms this time of year. Halloween hill has been taken over. The pumpkins are here. I repeat: the pumpkins are here in all shapes and sizes! (If you think you know just how many pumpkins we brought in to decorate the park, be sure to enter our newest sweepstakes!)

Deer and DecorationsBefore I even took my first photo, I spotted a couple of visitors that had made their way into the newly-placed decorations. As those who listen to our podcast already know, this is what we’d call a Code WL. If you’re behind on your listening, this is how we let each other know when wildlife is spotted in the park. Here’s a picture I snapped before one of Santa’s reindeer decided they were finished exploring.

I definitely got the easy job. We have crews that have been working diligently for the past two weeks to get everything put into place for the start of Happy Halloween Weekends. The flower beds are filled with mums now. Hundreds of straw bales have been placed all around the park. Forty truck-loads of corn fodder shocks were brought in. My job was to explore the park and capture the beauty of all the new additions.

On my most recent trip into the park, I stopped to get a few pictures and chat with Tom who was replacing lights on the Star Spangled Carousel (called the Star Spangled Scarousel during Happy Halloween Weekends). He let me know that there were over 1,300 lights on the Carousel, the majority of which are changed in the fall. They’re no longer the red, white, and blue that you’re used to during the summer; the red and blue have been replaced with green and orange. I also had to stop and get a photo of Millie, who was putting the finishing touches on some decorations near Rudolph’s Reindeer Ranch.

Millie Decorating

As the new guy in the office, I’ve had a lot of memorable “first” milestones since I started. First Behind-the-Scenes Coaster Walk. First Rock the World Music Fest. First Network TV show shoot.

I think the opening of Happy Halloween Weekends just might be my favorite one yet.

This is only a test

Do you remember school fire drills? As kids, we’d scurry down the hallway knowing we’d get a few extra minutes of “recess” as part of the drill.

It was a good thing.

Here at Holiday World, we conduct drills, too. And yesterday evening was a big one.

For the better part of a year, our staff has worked with area agencies to plan the type of emergency-preparedness drill that would benefit all involved.

… because every last one of us wants to be prepared to handle what we hope will never happen.

Our scenario? A weather emergency: a “microburst” would hit the park while we were open.

Our staff and most of the emergency workers didn’t know any of the details of the drill ahead of time, so when the first radio call went out we learned there was a fast-appoaching violent storm.

We tweeted throughout the drill, explaining what was going on:

We learned, through triage, that park guests needed help in the parking lot, in Kringle’s, and in a restroom – where access to the injured was blocked by falling trees. There was also a pregnant lady in Skeeball who thought she was going into labor. LifeFlight from St. Mary’s and a Search & Rescue team from the Owensboro, Kentucky, fire department joined personnel from local police, fire, EMS, EMA and sheriff departments.

As part of the drill, the injured were transported by helicopter, ambulance and bus.

And what happened to the woman in active labor?

Thanks to the scores of rescuers who gave up their evening for the training exercise. As much as we all hope to never need your expertise and skills, it’s good to know it’s there.

The drive to dive

Well, she did it – one of our incredible divers went to the World High Dive Championship in Russia this week, and she’s bringing home the silver medal.

Cesilie will be back today, performing in our Dive! show once again.

CesilieTalk about a crazy summer job – moving to Santa Claus, Indiana, from Texas to dive from the top of a 70-foot tower into a 14-foot pool.

Every day, she kicks the clouds.

Cesilie and the rest of our high-dive team will perform their silly dives, group dives, Olympic-style dives, the high dive, plus the famous fire dive daily through August 12, and then days we’re open through September 20.

And, as our announcer says several times during each show: Don’t try this at home!

Unless, of course, you’re Cesilie Carlton!