2 nd Annual Oktoberfest at Adventureland….Amazing

Finally, Oktoberfest arrived, the event we have been waiting for.  It was a long day but so much fun and amazing to watch what the Park had accomplished.  It was so professionally done.  It was a classy affair that had something for everyone.  It was affordable to anyone according to their wishes.  Or you could spend and drink and party to your hearts delight.

Oktoberfest was not something we knew about at first.  This is an affair separate from what the Workampers were expected to do to finish their season.  Last year which was the 1st, was much smaller, so this year the plans had grown and escalated to quite a large affair.  We kept hearing about the plans,  games would be open in 2 of the 3 areas, and many of the large rides would also be open.  It sounded exciting, so we decided to stay and work.  A number of other Workampers stayed also.  After last Sunday of working, which was the last day we had to stay to satisfy our bonus, many of the Workampers left the campground.  It was really a mass exit…..Then mid week all the weekenders started filling up the lots again, just for Oktoberfest.  By Friday we were quite full again….

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We knew they were putting new LED lighting on the Big Wheel.  Last Thursday, Rich looked out the window towards the park and he said, Look the Big Wheel lights are on.  We sat their and watched in delight, and then drove the golf cart to the parking lot.  I took pics and a video.  It was so beautiful.  The colors changed, moved in a wheel, moved in swirls…..It was so pretty.  They ran all evening till 10pm and again Friday nite.  Finally Saturday came.  We arrived at 10:15 am to turn in our uniforms for the year.  I was in Games again and was assigned Alpine which would be up by the main stage….This is just where I wanted to be.  Right in the middle of the action.  Now Rich was assigned to the Tilt a Whirl. He would be near the back of the park and probably wouldn’t see as much action.  This year they would be having 13 bands on 7 different stages through out the park at different times.  Wow.  It was a rather cool morning to start, so I wore jeans.  It was going to be a casual affair for us in Games as many of our rules were relaxed.  We could buy from the many food vendors in the park, and their were many (although Rich had to eat in the commissary, strange, it was a rule for Rides. ).  We were also allowed to take our phones.  Soooo pictures….YES…..So the gates opened at 11 am.

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Their just so happened to be 2 Iowa football games that afternoon, so things started slowly.  They had also brought in a big screen for the bands so they also played the football games for those interested.  Tickets were only $15 to enter, that also got you a mug with Samuel Adams Beer.  Very reasonable.  At break time I wandered the park and bought a sandwich and found some really cool things they were offering for fun to play.  No cost.

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Bean Bags on Main Street

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Connect Four….. King Size

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Huge Jenga……These were placed in a number of places through out the park.

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Ladder Ball

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This was really cool….It is a moustache Tetter Totter

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Beer Pong….Everyone was having so much fun.  They also added some other beer games that cost.

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Pumpkin Launch….Their was a small wooden boat in the water.  If you made it you got a fun trinket, Key chain or beads I believe.

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Keg Bowling…..lol…I think this is self explanatory….I believe all these games were $3 each….not to expensive…

How about Speed Beer….Shake up a can of beer and throw it…See how fast you can throw…..As the day progressed, more people came.  Finally I heard at 6pm the tickets booths outside were standing line, and the parking lot was getting full.  The last i heard our count was 7,000 people.  I was working the game Mr. Frog, which was near main stage.  All the bands were playing through the park at different times, but main stage was going to be playing last until 9:30 and then the ……Fireworks….Grand Finale…..The last band began…..The Spazmatics…..They were so good.   They played music of the 80’s….Fabulous sounds and High Energy music….It turns out, they are a “Chain Band” from Chicago.  That means their are many chains of the same band through out the US.  Listening to them and watching the Big Wheel lites behind them was just Magical.

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The people were having a blast, dancing and moving and singing to the music.  The crowds became so thick, I couldn’t hardly see the band anymore.   Lots of people were stopping to play Mr. Frog though.  I became very busy.

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This game is really a neat game that has been here for years.  You buy rubber frogs to launch in a launcher.

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You hit it with a mallet and try to land the frog in the white lily pad that is moving in circles in the water. So as you know, most people miss and the frog lands in the water.  So I have to pluck the frogs out…..lol…by the end of the evening I was soaked….You get 3 frogs for $3, 6 for $5 or 15 for $10.  People love this game.

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All through the park the big rides were running.  Rich said he had lines all night.  Nonstop.  The big rides were busy ..Monster, Tornado, Space Shot and the Storm SearchEveryone was having a blast, most of them walking around with a mug of beer in hand.  But was their any problems?  You would think that alcohol and all the rides wouldn’t mix.  I heard of a few problems but the police force were patrolling through the park all nite.  From my and Rich’s viewpoint, everyone was  well behaved.  They were laughing, singing, dancing….Being Happy…..Finally it was almost 9:30 and the band called last song.   Soon as the last chords were played the Fireworks began…..Beautiful  fireworks in the sky.   What a wonderful fitting finish to an Evening of Magic…..

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My Manager Devin……Really Good Guy…..

 

So the lights on the Big Wheel continued till 10 pm.   We packed up the games for the last time this season….Counted my frogs for inventory….lol…Put them in their plastic bin to be taken in the building….Said my goodbyes to the kids I worked with…..Little by little the people cleared out….Rich and I headed back to the employees area, turned in our last shirts we had on and left the building…..Got in our golf cart and headed to our campsite for the last time this year……Whewwww…..Finally, its over…..but its Bittersweet….We are ready to leave but, its also sad to leave…….Well weve been packing for several days, so Sunday we packed up what was left and left by 2 pm….Headed to Illinois….but ohhhh soooo Tired….Worked almost 12 hours Saturday…….Didn’t realize I was so tired…..

But What a Wonderful Day and Evening it Was…..Adventureland, you put on a Class Act….

 

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The Days are Winding Down….

We are now in our last week of full time at Adventureland.  After this week the park will only be open weekends till the end of Sept.  So now we can say….”This is the last Monday….This is the last Tuesday….This is the last Wednesday…….”  The general feeling through out the park is the same.  Were all glad it is going to slow down.   Were all tired.  So I will give you a little up date on what has been going on.  Last week Rich was the Outlaw operator.

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It is one of the big roller coasters in the park.  It is an all wooden coaster, located in the Outlaw Gulch.

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This is the gulch area.  It has a western theme.

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This is Saw Mill Splash which is near the Outlaw.  It is a fun water ride that I would like to ride, but I think were running out of time.

We are only allowed in the park on weekdays free, so this is the last week.  Last Friday, which was our day off, we decided to take that opportunity to do some of the things in the park that we wanted to do.  Top on the list.  Buy one of those FABULOUS “Loaded Funnel Cakes” that walk by us all the time.

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Now picture this funnel cake….put a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle…fresh peaches and strawberries around it….drizzle chocolate and strawberry syrup on top….drizzle glaze over the whole thing….lastly dollops of whip cream over the tops…..All for $9.75..…I was going to take a picture before we dived in but forgot.  We sat down by the water on a picnic table and FEASTED…..MMmmmmm….it was so good….

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One of the rides I had wanted to ride was the Underground.  It is a rollercoaster ride in a cave.  It is the story about Bad Bob the bank robber who hid down in the cave with his stolen gold…..lol…

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This is where you line up 2 in each stall. When the doors open your car is right on the other side.  You can see the animated miner telling you the story of Bad Bob…..It was a fun ride of darkness, skeletons, a train light coming at you….lol

We then left the park and walked back to the golf cart…..Oh the luxury of having it…Instead of walking back to the Gulch area, we rode back on the company access road.  Rich bought some of his wonderful Kettle Corn.

They cook in a huge kettle outside.  So 2 more bags and we got back in our golf cart.

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On this access road, you get a view of the rollercoasters some never see.  This is the Tornado with the Storm Search in the background.  Another wooden rollercoaster.  It is all painted white with blue cars.  They also have a set of red cars they used at the beginning of the season.  Rich will be the Assist on the Tornado this week.

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On the drive up the road, we also stopped on the back road to see the loading zone for the Tornado.  The building on the right with lights on is the load, unload area.  They had just came down the track and rounded the corner.   See the blue blurrrrrrrrrrrr……That’s the cars…lol…

 

Here they are approaching the first and highest hill.  On the side is the employee access road and then the main road of town.  It was approaching nite so some of the pictures are sort of dark.  So that was our trip on Friday.  I was asked about a week ago to do an evening in rides.   So I said sure.  I went to the Rides desk and was given the Dragon Assist.     Another big roller coaster.

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Rich has been an Assist on this one also.  All the coasters take an operator and 2 Assists.  One on each side to load and unload and secure.  Now this was an eye opener for me.  You are constantly busy.  Every 90 seconds the cars are back to reload.  You have to be alert and make sure everyone is safe.  Have everyone in line and ready to go.  Make sure harness and seatbelts are secure.  Always on guard and alert.   The plus side is.  Rides people can bring a stool to sit one during that pause time.   So at break, I went and got one from the commissary.  You have no idea how sitting for 30 seconds at a time helps.  Doesn’t seem like much does it.

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Here is another picture of Dragon doing the loop de loop…..with the Tornado in the background.  Again rides I sure wont be doing.   I would loose supper…..I did enjoy that evening working in Rides and it gives me some thoughts on next year……You just Never Know……In Games we have just been rotating between the 3 areas as usual.   The one game most people love is Bingo….We have a Bingo Room in the Arcade building.  Of course Air Conditioned.   Usually have 2 people running it, one calling and one working the floor.  It is electronic digital bingo.  We have a blower that blows up the numbers and we call them and put them in the slot.  When pushed it turns the number on, on the display board.  They win points on their Arcade card.  Then they go shopping.  It is the place where adults will go when their kids are off running in the park.  They are hot and tired and need a break.  Or some people bring the little ones in, in their stroller so they can have a nap.  Many in wheelchairs or scooters who don’t do rides and just wait for family members to be done……Some can spend hours in their…That is the only AC Games for us.   But it is getting cooler now.  It is so much more fun when the weather is nice.  One of the friends I met here is Carolina (Catalina) like the Island,  and James. They are from Houston.

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Originally Carolina is from Brazil South America.  She is interesting and fun to talk to.  She left Brazil, went to Australia for 2 years and then back home.  Then she came to US and met James.  Not sure how long she has been here but they have been married for 5 years I believe.  The are full time RVers.  They decided it was time to leave.  This wasn’t the job for them.  They are on their way to California to do the Pumpkin Harvest and then sell Christmas trees in Dec. I wish them nothing but…. GOOD LUCK…..I will be following their adventures…… James also has a you-tube video channel…..Wanderlust Estate….He puts out videos of their travels…..I have also found at least 3 other people that have You-tube video channels.  They have all left.  Most of their complaints were, they didn’t like all the rules.  They didn’t like the pay.  Yes, we must have rules.  It is a place of employment of many.  The park has its hours to be open and manned.  We have a dress code.  We have to appear professional.  We can’t eat or relax in the park in uniform.  The one draw back is some of the manages are very young.  As in Games, they are High School age.  So rules are important to keep them in line.  The young managers do a good job, but sometimes don’t know quite how to treat the older people.  I have been fine with them.  They all treat me well.  I do feel respected, but I know their has been issues with others.  Games is an area where mainly kids are hired.  Even 14 and 15.  Some look like little kids, but rules must be strict for that age group, but does cause problems for the older people.  But life has its issues doesn’t it…..Can’t have everything our way…..As far as pay….We have free camping from April 1 – Oct 1…..Pay is $8.50 and hour….End of season Bonus if we stay….$400 to campsite plus .75 for every hour worked.   Now people on SSI already have money coming in.  It is good for us, but those who rely strictly on this to live, it is more of a problem.  Those are the people who are having a problem with this job.  They want and need more immediate compensation.   Their are many people going to the Sugar Beets in the Dakotas starting next month.   It is hard work, 12 hour shifts, all outside.  You will probably be handed a shovel your first year….lol…They say some can make up to $8,000 in several weeks.  Some go to the different Amazon plants.  Their is an Amazon Work Force that does workamping hiring.  You also get free camping of you get your reservation in early.  But it is all warehouse work for the Christmas Season.  You are released on Dec. 24th.  NOPE  Not for us either.   We don’t want to do warehouse work.

  ……….I LEFT THAT  FOREVER…….NEVER AGAIN……

So today is Wednesday…..Last Wed. of work…..YaHoooooooooo…..Ill leave you with an evening view of the

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4th of July….Adventureland

The 4th was a beautiful weekend.  The temps had cooled down to mid 80’s.  We even brought our sweatshirts several days as the evenings were so cool.  The park was open till 10pm on Fri. Sat. and Sun.  Of course we have Fridays off together now.  We went across the street to Prairie Meadows Casino and Race Track for lunch.

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They had a great buffet with everything one could ever want.  Salad and Dessert bars were to die for.  lol.   Yes all for only $21 for both of us.  You could almost spent that at McDonalds.  After we went up just one floor and checked out the casino.

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Pretty typical of a casino.  All the same machines and tables.  It was decorated very colorful and all the bells were ringing of course.  The one thing I don’t remember was the smell of Cigarettes.  Must be smoke free.  But I still seen the people gambling with their Oxygen tubes hooked up.  Sad isn’t it, that’s all they have to do.  SSI check comes in and off they go to gamble.  We walked to the back and that’s where the big windows were that looked out over the Horse Race Track.

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The water trucks were preparing the track for the weekend races.  Their were lots of outside tables to the right and left of the picture and inside their were all the box seats.  Seems like a lot for just a few minutes of racing.   I guess I just have never appreciated horse racing.

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We left deciding to come back again for the buffet……Excellent….and maybe spending $20 next time gambling.  lol  .  Saturday and Sunday, we of course worked.  Rich is working the Himalaya this week as the Operator this time.  This gives him an enclosed area that has AC.  How nice.  I was up in the Alpine Arcade area.

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These pictures are taken with my old camera, as we cannot take our phones in to work…..Bummer…..The quality of colors inside is ok, but outside in the evening, they are horrible.  This is called Water Gun Fun.  Its a squirt gun game.  I worked this game all day.

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This was my friend Carolina, (pronounced Catalina, like the dressing) who was my reliever during break.  She is from Brazil, and is really a neat person to talk to with her accent.  More about her later.  The prizes are these cute little dragons.

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Another picture of the Arcade area.

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These girls are the Manager and Assist. Manager of Alpine for the nite.  Very nice girls, both still in High School, but very good at what they do.  Jordyn on the left and Morgan on the right.  We can tell what our positions are by the striping on our shirts under the arms.  Ours are a light blue.  Now Morgan’s is more of a medium blue, which designates an Assistant Manager.  Jordyn’s, if you could see hers, has a black insert.  That is for managers.  All areas have the same shirts so it is easy to tell what their position is.  Then by reading their name tag, you can tell what area they are in, Games, Rides, Retail or Foods.  All Company or important people…..lol…are dressed in Black shirts and Kaki colored slacks.

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This is a picture of the Big Wheel…..So much prettier than this.  In this picture the lights blended together, when their were really many different colors….That’s what the ole camera does.  lol.  But it is just beautiful at night.   All the pretty colors of the rides as they go around and round.   The sounds of the different rides and the laughter and voices of the kids.  And theirs always the sound of the train whistle as they start their ride on the rails.  At 9:30 pm Prairie Meadows had a fireworks display, but we couldn’t see anything because of the trees, but we sure could hear it.  Beautiful sounds.  The next night was the 4th of July.  I worked in County Fair.

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I worked the Goblets Game.  This is a game of chance.  You toss a whiffle ball in the rink.  If it falls on white, you lose.  Yellow gets you a small snake. Red is a medium and the center blue is a large.  You can also trade up.  3 small makes a medium, 3 med. makes a large.  Several guys came up and played and played.  You can also buy a bucket of balls with a small prize in it.

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After lots of laughter and money spent,  these guys won and traded up to several large snakes.   Notice the one kid has the snake head on top his head.  They had won many other prizes.  Now I am pretty sure that they had to have spent way over $100 to win all these stuffed animals.  But they sure had a good time winning.

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As the evening progressed I watched the Storm Chaser.  It is so cool to be near it when it goes up.  They leave their shoes and belongings on the ground as they will lose them.

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This is the Storm Chaser as the sun set and darkness came.  Such a beautiful site.

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This camera doesn’t show of the true colors.

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Once it reaches the top, it goes around faster and the swings swing way out.

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Finally it came time for the Parks fireworks.  They were set off on the other side of the park.  We were allowed to walk up a ways to watch.  We could only see the high ones, over the Monster.  They were pretty.

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The beautiful lights of the rides, the music playing in the different areas, and the laughter of the people made it a magical evening with the park closing at 10 pm.  Now that our golf cart  is here, it is so easy to go home.  Rich parks it right at the Security gate.  We meet each other there when the park closes and head home.  That nite the traffic was horrible.  The cops were directing traffic, which was stopped…….and we just drove off through the parking lot and sidewalks and over to the campground……it just takes minutes…..From now on the Park will be open from 11 am to 9 pm Sunday-Thursday and on Friday and Saturdays were open till 10 pm.  So our nites are late now.  We work all the Pm shifts.  The park stays open until the last week of Aug.  That week they will close on week days and only be open on weekends till the last of Sept.  As long as we stay till then, we will be paid a bonus money per hour we worked.  So it is worth it staying, especially as we still get free camping.   Its really a nice package deal.  More people are leaving every week, but they have their own issues.  Some depts. have their own problems, some of them can’t take the heat.    If you look at the whole deal, it is really a great seasonal job.  Just imagine if you received a pay check and didn’t have to pay rent or electric.  All we do is buy food.  Meals at the Commissary are cheap also.  Today we had Turkey, Dressing, Mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole.  All for $2 with your drink.   What a deal.

Stay tuned for my next blog…..We went and met friends last Friday and visited Rieman Gardens in Ames Iowa…..FABULOUS…..