|Trip Report: |
DelGrosso's Park is right up the road from Lakemont, right up US-220/IR-99. It follows what seems to be a pattern for Pennsylvania amusement parks, where the parking lot is on the opposite side of the road from the park. In this case, a footbridge only slightly less annoying than Kentucky Kingdom's Damn Bridge serves as the park entrance. Actually it is a lot less aggravating than the Damn Bridge because you cross it to get into and out of the park, not to get *through* the park.
It's been a while since my last visit, in fact I think my last visit was in 2000. I know the last time I was in this park the place was still called "Blands Park," which I always thought was a rather strange name. And yet, to the best of my knowledge, Blands Park was founded by the DelGrosso family...and "bland" is certainly not a word you would want to associate with "The Finest Sauce Made." So the name change is understandable, to say the least!
I hadn't been keeping up with the news from DelGrosso's, so I wasn't aware that they had actually installed TWO new roller coasters this year. It turns out I didn't get a chance to ride either one, but they have installed both a Wacky Worm from Fajume', and a Crazy Mouse from Reverchon. The Mouse looked to have a long wait, and it was running a not-terribly-efficient cycle, probably because this was at best the ride's third day of operation. Besides, we had more pressing needs, needs best addressed at Murf's Kitchen. I ended up with a good sized meatball sandwich and a serving of really good potato salad (I believe it was once endorsed by Mark McKenzie) for just under $5. We had stopped at DelGrosso's Park for lunch, and that was basically all we had time for...the decision had been made that we were going to Hershey, and that I was going to Hersheypark for the night-before preview.
We took the time to look around the park a bit. On the one hand, quite a lot has changed: the kiddie rides have been rearranged to make room for the Wacky Worm, the Zyklon has been replaced with a Crazy Mouse, and in the place of the Flying Scooter are a Sea Dragon swinging boat ride and a Balloon Race. So there have been some big, obvious changes of hardware up by the road. The park is also more obviously affiliated with the spaghetti sauce plant down the road. At the same time, a whole lot hasn't changed at all. The park is still absolutely spotless, and all of the equipment looks showroom-new. Dad made it a point to personally examine all of the horses on the restored antique carousel, and to note that there was not any chipped paint on any of the horses' legs. I pointed out to him that there isn't any chipped paint anywhere in the park. He conceded the point, but also pointed out that all of the riders were using the supplied foot-pegs instead of misusing the horses' legs for that purpose.
Further down, I noticed that the park has the gigantic 42-passenger Super Round-Up, similar to the one at Lake Winnie. Across the midway, I got a giggle out of the sign on the side of the control booth on the Flying Bobs ride identifying it as the "Doghouse". It was a bit like the Chicken Chute at Worlds of Fun...I've seen a lot of doghouses on rides, but this might be the first time I saw one identified as such. Then it was Dad who suggested that the infield of the miniature train ride might be a great place for a midsize wooden roller coaster. Well, he's right, of course, and a midsize wood coaster is the attraction that DelGrosso's is lacking right now. Quite frankly, it's surprising that any park in Pennsylvania doesn't have a decent wood coaster. I'm thinking that a classic style ride like the Lake Winnie Cannon Ball, the Cedar Point Blue Streak, or the Knoebels Phoenix would fit in very nicely here. Or perhaps even something more along the lines of the Waldameer Comet.
Well, judging from the crowd, DelGrosso's is doing fine with the Crazy Mouse. I really didn't have time to ride it, thanks to the large crowd and the new coaster operation. Instead, Mom bought a couple of jars of sauce (DelGrosso's sauce is available at the Big Bird [Footnote 1] stores in Columbus, but there is one sauce variety available only at the park, so I think she bought that one. We piled into our respective cars, and were off for Hershey.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Footnote 1: Almost two years ago, Giant Eagle moved into Columbus. Last fall, the Big Bear grocery store chain went out of business, and Giant Eagle bought a non-trivial number of the Big Bear stores, turning them from Big Bears into Big Birds.