By Justin Strawser
The Daily Item
ELYSBURG — The Flying Turns might have opened late last season, but Knoebels Amusement Resort officials are anticipating that most park enthusiasts have yet to experience the new wooden bobsled coaster seven years in the making.
Chances are you missed it: the ride opened for the 32nd annual Covered Bridge and Arts Festival and the Phoenix Phal Phunfest in October and was available for 12 days.
Even still, people are wondering why it hasn’t open yet, said park spokesman Joe Muscato Wednesday.
But come Saturday, the 88th opening day for the family amusement resort, the hotly anticipated ride and the park itself will be ready to roll.
“It’ll be the big thing for most people. It’s a big deal this year,” he said.
Riders itching for a taste of the Flying Turns should expect long lines — probably 90 minutes or more — and inspections of the ride in the middle of the day to ensure safety, he said.
A fourth six-person train was ordered to move people through quickly, Muscato said.
Additionally, the ride will have a photo opportunity, he said.
The long winter has prevented the Knoebels staff from preparing the attractions in a timely manner, so crews are working extra hard this week for opening day, Muscato said.
As for new attractions, no major projects will be unveiled for the 2014 season, but several smaller ones will be ready.
A Pony Cart ride, similar to one at the former Doodlebug Park in Trevorton, will allow children to fit in each vehicle and ride around in a circle, Muscato said.
Peter’s Fleet, named after the late Pete Knoebel, will open later in the season. Similar in design to the Pony Cart, it will feature several boats for children to ride around in.
Striker and Kreeper’s Pumpkin Patch, two new games, will also be available this year. Striker, which is replacing the damaged Killer Bees, is a soccer-themed game where players attempt to roll balls into 15 holes before their competitors.
Kreeper’s Pumpkin Patch, a game introduced during Hallo-Fun, is a target game used with whiffle balls.
Also, several strolling photographers will be on hand this season to capture moments in the park. Photographs will be available online for purchase.
The Power Surge will not be available on opening day, Muscato said. It was sent away for maintenance, but should be back around June, he said.
Muscato also said it will be the last year for the Bumper Boats and Boat Tags, which will both be dismantled in September to make room for the park’s new 2015 steel coaster Impulse.
The park will only be open weekends until May 21. Hours this Saturday and Sunday will be from noon to 6 p.m.