ELYSBURG — Knoebels Amusement Resort's 2020 opening date remains a mystery thanks to the virus outbreak, but residents can still get a literal taste of the park for at least today and the next two weekends.
Food trucks and temporary buildings near the park's campground and lumberyard entrance opened this week for a temporary outdoor food court.
The vendors included Knoebels' own popular eatery Cesari's Pizza as well as local carnival and fair staples like Hewlett's Hot Sausage and Cheesesteaks, Grilled Cheese Café and Leiby’s Ice Cream.
On Friday, the Stringer family drove 90 minutes to partake in some amusement park fare.
"They wanted us to stop at Knoebels and ride the rides," said Douglas Stringer. "Unfortunately we weren't able to do so. When we saw they were giving out the pizza, that was a must-have."
Douglas and Bridget Stringer came for the hot sausage while their three daughters, 10-year-old Desiree, 15-year-old Lacey and 16-year-old Hannah wanted pizza. They traveled from Milroy, about 70 miles west of Knoebels, for the food.
The Stringers come about a dozen times a year to enjoy the food, the Phoenix, the Antique Cars and the Pioneer Train at night with wildlife. They also like to camp on Father's Day weekend.
David Daub, of Bethel, and his daughter Cabela, 10, came with their family and friends to the food stands while camping.
"It's something different, and we thought we'd check it out," said David Daub.
Cabela said she misses Knoebels. Her favorite ride is the Phoenix.
The food stands will be set up 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today then again on June 18-21 and June 26-28. Kettle corn, cotton candy and caramel corn are also available.
Knoebels does not have a definite opening date for the amusement park despite Northumberland and Columbia counties being in the green phase of reopening. They are working on off-season projects, awaiting additional guidance, and planning operational adjustments to ensure the safety of their team and guests, according to the latest announcement on the park's website.
The park's sister businesses at Three Ponds Golf Course, Lake Glory Campground, Nickle Plate Bar & Grill and the park campground are open.