Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Blast From The Past - Paramount's Kings Island's Winterfest 2005

In honor of the Holiday season this weeks Blast takes a look back at Paramount's Kings Island's second attempt at Winterfest. Kings Island's original Winterfest opened in 1982 with the idea of extending the parks season.

When the gates opened that December the park had been transformed into a winter wonderland. The event was very successful, but there was a bit of a problem, with Kings Island's season lasting through the end of October there just wasn't enough time for the staff to make the transformation.

So, after a decade Winterfest was discontinued. For years Kings Island guests left comments, requesting the return of Winterfest. On July 25th 2005, after a thirteen year absence, Paramount's Kings Island had a media event announcing Winterfest's return.

Winterfest 2005 would feature many of the old traditions established at the park's original event, while adding many new traditions.The original decorations had been sold off or donated, so all the decorations were brand new. A new sound system was installed, more indoor dining establishments were added and the Royal Fountain was renovated.

The Eiffel Tower was once again transformed into a large Christmas tree. And the Royal Fountain was turned into a large ice skating rink. The Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad became the White Christmas Express, complete with a cast of 1940`s era characters.

Holiday Illuminations, featuring an immersive light show took place nightly on Swan Lake and surrounding forest the in Rivertown. And, a Christmas parade wound through the streets.

The Toy Factory musical took place in the Paramount Theater with Nickelodeon Central have been transformed into Santa`s Christmastown. The Paramount Story was transformed into the Nickelodeon Holiday Tree lot. The Festhaus became the Winterfest Haus, with live entertainers on a revolving stage.

The classic Scrooge`s house, from the original Winterfest made a return to the park. And, every night a one lucky family was chosen to light the Eiffel Tower. The train wasn't the only ride operating, the Grand Carousel, the Hanna Barberra Carousel and Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, as well as several other kiddie rides were open.

The multi-million dollar event was produced by Jack Rouse Associates. And, while Winterfest was very well done and was moderately successful, it didn't survive the 2006 Cedar Fair takeover and was once again discontinued.

Seasons Greetings to all,
Scott & Carol