By Lisa Byers
CONNEAUT LAKE —
For two years, Lenny Adams had the best seat in the house when it came to seeing Conneaut Lake Park.
He spent those two years atop the Blue Streak, working with Structural Technologies Inc., a father-and-son company which was hired to restore the famous 74-year-old wooden rollercoaster.
He saw Conneaut Lake Park’s potential and he knew just what kind of work and dedication it would take to help get the park back to its glory days. And in his first year overseeing the operation of the rides, games and concession areas at the park as Adams Amusements, Adams feels he and the park are headed in the right direction.
Patrons at the park on Saturday were feeling it as well.
“It’s wonderful,” said Jacqueline Sadler of Petersburg, Ohio, just after taking her turn on the Tumble Bug with her granddaughter. “I love this park. I talk about Conneaut Lake Park all the time and my granddaughters wanted to come and see what it’s all about.”
Sadler was one of many to enjoy a sunny and warm day at CLP on Saturday, which traditionally is the last Saturday the park is open with the exception of Pumpkinfest and Ghost Lake. But given the success of the park this year, Adams and Jack Moyers, chairman of the board of Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park, announced the park would remain open Saturday and Sunday through the end of the month.
“Little bit by little bit we’re getting things put back together and getting the right players in place,” Moyers said. “It’s showing in the numbers of people coming in.”
Moyers said it’s difficult to come up with an attendance figure for the season because there is no gate charge and patrons can come into the park from various areas like the Beach Club, Hotel Conneaut and the Dockside.
“There really is no way to count,” Moyers said. “We have several access points for people coming in. I don’t really have a good count. But I would say our crowds in general this year have been larger than last year.”
The crowd Saturday was a decent one and those who came out had a variety of events to enjoy. What seemed to be the largest attraction was the ’50s on the Lake Car Show and Beach Party, which kicked off Friday night with DJ Lee Martel.
Cars were lined throughout the park Saturday while the band The Dorals entertained from the stage near the boardwalk. Down on the beach was the annual Labor Day beach volleyball tournament. The night was to conclude with a fireworks display.
Tonight Eddie Money takes to the stage at the Beach Club.
“We’ve had a good crowd,” said Chuck Lombardo, founder of the car show. “I’m really happy with the turnout. For the first time, it’s gone very, very well.”
Lombardo said nearly 125 cars registered for the show. Some came from Cleveland, Ohio and one from Detroit, Mich.
“It says a lot for what could happen at this park,” he said. “It really says a lot for this place that people want to come here.”
“We see lots of promise,” Adams said.
“We’re making enough to pay the bills,” he continued. “We did the initial investment up front, but after we opened up, the park has supported itself every weekend. That tells me right there that we are supporting ourselves. Now we need to go from supporting ourselves to making a profit. But if we can support ourself, that is the main thing.”
Adams made an additional announcement Saturday about next season at Conneaut Lake Park. This past season the park was opened — after Memorial Day weekend — Thursday through Sunday. Next season, the park will be open five days, tentatively Thursday through Monday.
There is also hope that next year the train will be in operation. The train did not run at all in 2012. Most all of the other rides were up and running all season long. The waterpark did not open.
“It’s being studied,” Moyers said. “We have to study that and see what would be feasible. The best plans are maybe a change in the features we have. We’ll see.”
Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can go
Labor Day activities continue at Conneaut Lake Park today through Monday. Here is a list of events:
Today — 11 a.m., Labor Day Weekend Beach Volleyball Tournament; noon, rides open; 6 p.m., Eddie Money and Gary Markasky Project.
Monday — noon, rides open until 6 p.m. (ridebands are buy one get one half off)
Note: Parking for Sunday is $5.
Conneaut Lake Park will remain open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. through the end of September. Lenny Adams, of Adams Amusements, said there will be special rates and coupons will be available at conneautlakepark.com.