Last Saturday, June 17, my family and I went to the Idora Park Experience Museum in Canfield. They had more stuff than last year. And to me it really was about everything that reminds you of Idora Park.
In the videos I made, I commented how the museum showed the sights, like the ride, and the smell of the cotton candy that could be purchased at one time underneath the Rocket Ride. That cotton candy is still made using the original recipe that Tammi’s grandmother brought to Ohio from Conneaut Lake Park in 1921.
And the sounds of the people as they saw things and told stories about when they went to Idora Park, and all the things they remember there. Being able to touch everything and sit in the ride cars is an amazing experience.
The scale models of the Rocket Ride and the Wildcat are just amazing.
Every time I go to the Idora Park Experience, it just takes me back to my time at Idora Park. Whether I was working there or just going there for fun, I’m reminded of all the first times I can remember—my first day at work, my first day taking my own children.
I went back when my daughter was around four or five years old. Taking my own daughter to see the place that I love so much was such a treat. She had a lot of fun, and she got to play with the Idorables. She got to ride the rides, and to eat those famous Idora Park french fries. She got Candy Floss from underneath the Rocket Ride, made by Tammi and her family and Kathy.
It really does bring a flood of memories. I don't think we could ever thank the families who helped keep this park running—the Duffy family and the Rindon family and the Cavalier family and all the others, and people like Mr. Horvath who kept the rides running.
I wish I could remember the name of the gentleman that did the landscaping at Idora park and did such a beautiful job. You have to remember what it look like and think of all the work that man put into to make that park look that beautiful. All the people that managed the games, like George Goodman, who lived in Florida during the winter and drove limousine for limousine service but always came back to Idora Park for the season.
And the older ladies that worked in the cages at the Arcade and the game room next to the office and in the upper games on the upper Midway. A lot of them came from Florida and they’d just come back to work and experience Idora Park. It really was like a family to a lot of us.
I loved the people who were in charge there not just because it was a job, but because it was a place where they also loved working. To be honest, you don't get rich working at an amusement park.
And as I said before, it was a great thing for young people to get a job there. They got to experience what it was like to work and make some money and yet still have fun.
When you go to the Idora Park Experience, your heart and your mind just opens up and floods and the memories just come. And when you look at people, you see the look in their eyes that families would have when they walked into Idora Park, all the excitement and energy. You see that same look at the Idora Park Experience. Of course, it’s not quite the same thing as going in and having the rides work and stuff. But it's the flood of all those memories of the times that you came to Idora Park—as a worker or as a guest. Even though it was a good-sized park, it was still like a family park. I mean, they had the picnic area on top of the hill behind the lower games that you could go with your family and have picnics and then go out and have fun and ride the rides.
I remember all the special attractions they had, like the car shows, the baseball games, Slovak day and Italian day and Polish day, and all the different company picnics. Idora Park was a place to spend the day with your family, and so is the Idora Park Experience.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jim and Toni Amey for all the hard work of bringing this back to the valley for folks to see and to remember what it was like.
When we first got there and I was sitting in one of the cars, I was looking to my right at the children's train ride and thinking to myself exactly what the park look like. It wasn't a hard for the vision to come to me. I’ve walked that midway a thousand times.
You’d walk in the back door and the first thing you saw to your right was the bumper cars. Next to that was the basketball hoop, and next to that was the Funhouse, followed by the Kooky Castle.
Then, there was the Crazy Horse Saloon, and then the bingo games. After the bingo games was the carousel, then after the carousel was the cotton candy and candy apple place. Then, you’d pass the old shooting gallery. You might miss the small road that led to the game manager’s office, but then you’d see the Skee-Ball.
After that was the main office, and then you went down further and you saw the Turtle to your right and Miniature Golf right in front of you. Continue on and there was the ballroom, then there was the Spider and another ride that I can't quite remember. Later on the spider would be moved down past the ballroom with two other rides. Then that would turn into the new shooting gallery.
Then there was the concession stands. After the concession stands were different games, like where you throw the hoop over the Square Peg and try to win prizes and the one where you shoot water to make the balloons pop.
Then you’d see the ice cream cone place, and after that was the Penny Arcade, then the french fry stand. If you went to your right, you saw the Sno-Cone stand, then after that was Kiddieland with all its rides. Then you’d come to the antique cars, then you're back to the bumper cars.
A flood of memories come into my mind when I go to see the Idora Park Experience. All the fun at all the places with all the games and all the rides that were there seem like they just happened yesterday. Like the steel mills that were part of Youngstown’s heritage, Idora Park is a part of Youngstown, too.
I'm sure if you if you go and see their Idora Park experience all the flood of memories will happen to you too—all the memories of that magic Idora Park.
Anytime is a good time, a good time for everyone. Rediscover Idora Park at the Idora Park Experience and you will have fun.
See you on the midway!