I'm probably one of the biggest Indiana Beach fan-boys around, so don't expect these pictures to be bias or anything..
This was the best event I have ever attended! Indiana Beach has been doing their late-summer coaster weekend now for four years, and each year they manage to out-do themselves with creativity, fun, and of course ride-time. We had night and morning rides on all the coasters, as well as the wonderful Den Of Lost Thieves, and FREE Fascination!
The event this year was themed around detectives and looking for clues, etc. In the welcome packet we received some paper clues that would take us on a little treasure hunt all over the park, riding rides and going into stores. At the registration center they were playing appropriately themed music, like the Peter Gunn theme, as well as the themes from Bond and Pink Panther. This music was also played (throughout the whole park) during the Saturday morning ride time on Superstition Mountain, and Splash Battle.
I arrived at The Beach on Friday afternoon and went to register. The Ballroom was was all decked out for us, which is where we also had dinner. I'm always impressed with the diverse (and quality) of the food served by Indy Beach at these events. The dinner on Friday was themed to Chinese take-out .. I'm not sure how this connects to the theme of the event, but the food was great. Complete with Fortune Cookies that had custom fortunes!
Usually at Coaster events, the parks hand out wrist-bands that allow people to enter rides etc. Indiana Beach likes to go one better .. this year we received buttons to wear, and last year (which was themed to to going back in time) we were given working digital watches.
The first ride time (Cornball and Lost Thieves) didn't begin until 11:30pm on Friday night, which meant we had the whole evening free to enjoy the park. We were really able to ride a lot since there weren't a lot of people around. Indiana Beach looks amazing at night .. in fact if you've never been there at night, you've never really been there.
The location of rides along the boardwalk is pretty great, and many rides are enhanced by this location. The YoYo swings you out over the water, and we even got one ride while the free water-show was taking place right below our feet. It rocked!
An unofficial competition was run on Friday night for the highest score on Lost Thieves, I think the winner scored close to 900 points. Lost Thieves is a really great Sally dark ride, and somehow I still manage to notice new stuff each time I ride.
After ERT on Friday night, we went back to my friends camp-site and sat by a roaring fire drinking home made (and strong) margaritas. We were out there until almost 3am, when it started raining (good thing too, otherwise we'd stay out there all night!).
Saturday morning started out with ERT on Lost Coaster, and Splash battle. Lost Coaster is an interesting way to wake up after only 4 hours sleep!
During the afternoon on Saturday we rented an 8-person speed-boat and went out onto the lake. We had tubes and skis and even tried a wake-board (unsuccessfully). Lake Shafer is quite spectacular to both see from the park, and experience from a boat. In previous years we have rented Jet Skis (waverunners - whatever), and it's a terrific way to escape the heavy Saturday afternoon crowds. I didn't try the water-skis, but my friend Frank was able to get up after not skiing for many, many years. He stayed up for quite some time too!
Being on the lake is really fun, and even without the park it would be a wonderful location. Shafer is lined with houses, most of which have decks and docks. I need to win the lottery and pick one of these up .. I doubt they're even very pricy at the moment, but it would be a wonderful investment.
After three hours on the water on Saturday, we were all famished. Frank had spotted this BBQ joint down the road so we decided to try it out. The food was great, I had the Ribs and Sausage combo (I can't say no to a good sausage!). The beer selection however, was absolutely horrid..
Before ERT on Saturday night we all met for a free cruise on the Shafer Queen. To see the park, at night, from the lake is really spectacular. It's almost romantic! (However being around the unwashed coaster-geek masses does negate this romantic air!). It's a wonderful thing for the park to do for us because not only does it look cool, but the Shafer Queen is the largest regularly scheduled paddle-wheel boat in Indiana.
Saturday night ERT was on Cornball and Hurricane. Both of which were running well, in fact Cornball was running better than it has in years .. the air-time was genuinely scary in parts, it was impossible not to laugh your tits off. Cornball, like many rides at Indiana Beach, is built around and through others. Diving around Tiggr, and going *through* the Hurricane.
The ERT ran until 12:30am, and after that we retired to my friends campsite again for more margaritas and a lovely campfire. We were even joined by Kevin The Ride-Op, whom we befriended earlier in the day.
We had half an hour of free Fascination on Sunday morning. I don't understand why this fun game isn't present at more parks (actually I do understand, the "time per coin" is too long ..). By chance, my camera (which I'd sat down on self-timer), caught me winning a game.
And if all that wasn't enough, the park gave us all a discount in the Skyroom brunch .. were there was so much food (of surprisingly great quality), that we almost had to be rolled out of there. The view from the skyroom is really great, overlooking the northern end of the park, and the sparkling/shimmering lake.
Not only is Indiana Beach obscenely fun, but it's also obscenely photogenic. Both of these properties combine to make it probably my favorite park. The rides, the atmosphere, the staff, and the location are all spot on. I really appreciate the way Indy Beach makes use of the lake and beach .. unlike a certain other lake-side park which totally ignores the wonderful resource around it, yet for same reason that park gets never-ending praise and awards .. Unbelievable!
Overall it was one of the most packed and fun weekends I can remember. I think I totaled about 6 or 7 hours sleep, laughed more than I have for a long time, and when I returned home on Sunday it felt as if I'd been away for weeks. I strongly encourage others to visit this unique and special park (PM/e-mail me if you want company!). The park really supports the enthusiast community (50% off P.O.P wrist-band for ACE members), so we should support them in return.
ps: This is about half of the photos I took, if you're interested in the rest you can check them out here