Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Elitch Gardens 1990

Before there was Elitch Gardens, there was...well, Elitch Gardens! Or perhaps I should just refer to it as "Elitch's". If this more informal moniker was good enough for their 1990 brochure cover, then it's good enough for me.

The year 1990 marked a century of "fun" at Elitch's original location. According to RCDB, it also marked the opening of the Arrow launched loop coaster known as Sidewinder (a transplant from Magic Springs & Crystal Falls), which is pictured here. Despite the new coaster's prominent placement in this brochure, I'm a little confused as to why they didn't make a bigger deal out of it. I mean, where's all the "NEW FOR 1990!" verbiage and so on? Both the date of this brochure and the opening date of Sidewinder are now suspect...

Would it be appropriate to completely ignore the copy accompanying this photo and simply chuckle at the fashions and hairstyles of 1990? Probably not, but I'm going to do it anyway. Heck, they even appear to be laughing at themselves.

Here's where the "fun" part comes in--The original Elitch's had cotton candy, colorful metallic wigs, and a ball crawl! Now that's what I'm talking about. Oh, and they had some rides too. Quite a few, in fact, including a particular wooden coaster known as Twister (that's Mr. Twister to you) which was ranked as the number three coaster in the country at that time. By whom? I have no idea. But this ride's reputation has earned it a spot on my "Top 10 Defunct Coasters I Wish I Could Have Ridden" list. Check out Scott and Carol's recent Blast feature for more info on this John Allen masterpiece.

The Kiddieland Kanoe Ride is advertised as being brand new this year, which again begs the question of why there was no love shown for Sidewinder. There's got to be a date discrepancy somewhere, and you all know how those drive me bananas.

This brochure stresses that there was much more to Elitch's than the rides. Of particular note were the flower gardens, which gave the park its name. The "working clock made entirely of living plants" is actually visible in one of the photos included in the previous image.

Here you can see Elitch's original location, at West 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street. Little did all those fun-loving guests know that the park had only four years left at that location by the time this brochure was printed.

Special events in 1990 included KidStuff, July Jam, Best Fest, and the Century Celebration, which marked Elitch's 100-year milestone. Now if you've done the math, you'll realize that this makes 2010 the park's 120th anniversary. Of course, technically speaking, the Elitch Gardens of today isn't really the same park. But it grew out of the original, so I guess it counts! The folks at PARC Management certainly think so, and a section of the park's web site has even been dedicated to the event. If you happen to be in the Denver area this summer, be sure to stop by and help them celebrate!


NewsPlusNotes said...

I can only find that the ride did open at Elitch's in 1990. Maybe the marketing department just did a major FAIL with the brochure?

Regardless, I totally did a LOL at your comments on those stunning 80's people. Classic.

Unknown said...,0EB1D1A4D24115B0.html

From June 3, 1990 in the Denver Post:

While Elitch Gardens celebrated its 100th birthday yesterday, Ron Senkins put the finishing touches on the amusement park's latest attraction, a new roller coaster called the Sidewinder.

The ride, which opens Friday, will slingshot a six-car coaster from atop a 65-foot platform, rocketing it through a loop to another platform 500 feet away. For extra thrills and chills, riders take the return trip backwards.

NewsPlusNotes said...

Whohoo! I love a good solved mystery. Thanks for that!

Sabrina said...

Indeed! Now all there is to question is the year of the brochure, although I find it hard to believe that it wouldn't be 1990 with all the 100-year references. Well, I guess they figure a picture on the cover speaks a thousand words!