Last Friday, my friend Tony and I got on a discussion of old, defunct amusement parks, namely, Angela park.
It was located in Drums, which is a few miles from where I work, and it was where I spent much of my childhood in the 80’s. I browsed through the site and the memories flooded back. The ghost house, the helicopter rides that went over the whole park, the tunnel of love.
These amusement parks did have most of the same qualities too. They all had one dark ride (like the ghost house, tunnel of love, etc). They had old, creepy merry go rounds. They had those rides that went over the whole park. And they had a lot of really cool hand painted statues that just give off an aura of years gone by. These statues are probably passed by by most without a second glance, but years and years before the mass produced society we live in today was born, there were unknown artists sculpting and painting these by hand for a living.
All that being said, this entry is about the art of amusement parks and fairs, as the title suggests. Most of the parks that I visited as a child are gone, so these things are lost to time, unfortunately. One of these parks still remains. A little place that used to, in the 80’s, be referred to as Knoebels Grove.
I don’t know why I go to amusement parks, I get sick on pretty much every ride. I was asked to go there with a few of my friends, and I went there, armed only with my camera and a lot of free time, considering I went on about four things the whole time. So, I decided I was going to search for as much as this old “art” as I could find.
The ghost house was the first ride we went on, and there were a few games that were right by the entrance. Here is the first specimen that I encountered. A hand painted sign for the tic tac toe game, featuring Knoebel’s mascot, Kozmo.
If you can’t tell what that is, a hand is coming out and grabbing his TOE. get it?
After this, we headed over to the phoenix, which, along with the ghost house, is the reason that Knoebels did not go out of business like all of the other parks in Pennsylvania.
Next to the phoenix is a really old music… thing. I actually don’t really know what to call this, but it’s hand painted and has been there forever. It’s very different from the statues, but I thought it was worth a mention, none the less.
Here is a detail:
After this we made our way to the area where the train is that takes you through the park. This guy was pointing me to the Cookie Nook, where I could get tasty treats:
I followed this little penguin’s instructions and found myself at a BREAD SHAPED BUILDING! Normally a bread shaped building would be my favorite place in the entire world because they’d sell… you guessed it…. BREAD! And I LOVE bread! … but this place does not sell bread. I’m actually not sure what this building is, but attached to it is the Cookie Nook that this penguin tricked me into going to.
After this, we searched for the pavilion where my friend Gill’s company was having their picnic. This isn’t really art related, but… I discovered that the people who designed the picnic pavilion didn’t really know their alphabet.
The bottom left quadrant is close to correct, however … U does not come after O, guys.
Anyway, after that it was on to the international cafe. They sell everything from mexican food to buffalo chicken sandwiches to alligator (i’m not kidding) They had some really neat and really “corny” artwork.
Get it, “corny” artwork? lolol.
This one was above the one food place inside of the cafe:
These puns are just… top notch.
I got some pasta from the italian place, and this horrifying thing was there to greet me:
I took a picture of the above image because I really really reminds me of old advertising characters … and I really think that that is an art style in itself.
Here is another horrifying chef that I found that was back near the entrance:
Here is a very horrifying one. This doesn’t really fall into amusement park art I don’t think. This falls into “scary coal mining museum art” because Knoebels has an Anthracite Museum right next to the international cafe.
There are really no words for this. Well, except for HORRIFYING:
After all of this, my friends went on the twister. This is a new rollercoaster, but it has the same sort of old timey statue built right into it.
While they were on the twister, I walked around and took some more shots. Here’s Kozmo again, this time on a globe.
After this, I wandered over into the kiddie ride area. I thought that I’d find a lot of stuff there, but I found just two, and they were both the same. There were two soldiers, each guarding a bridge. Here’s a detail, because I really like them.
All right. I’ve saved my favorites for last. I dont’ even know where to start. These are just… so amazing I had to actually have my picture taken with most of them.
This… is… well… hm…. really scary:
These two are actually from a different trip to Knoebels this summer, which is why I have a different shirt on. I didn’t want people to say “hey, why are you wearing a different shirt?! something is not right here!” …
This is near the arcade in the middle of the park. I believe there is a sign that says “please put trash in me” … but my reaction is to run away horrified.
These are my favorite two, hands down. I’ve blogged about this first one before, but I’m going to post it again. These are panels on the baby changing station at Knoebels. This scares me more than ghosts. Or spiders. Or ghost spiders. So, without further ado, I present to you… the changing station babies:
All right, well, that concludes this post, so I will leave you with this. While I was waiting for my friends to finish their final ride on the phoenix before they left, I found something really interesting.
Some class somewhere made an exact replica of the phoenix and it was in a glass case. That’s actually pretty cool, but I was more interested in the little figures that were placed next to this replica, who were supposedly “enjoying” this ride.
I came up with a story of what happened, but I’ll allow you, the reader, to draw your own conclusion and write your own story:
Until next time ^_^