Amusement Park seeks volunteers for 125th celebration

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
FILE PHOTO / Details are coming together for a 125th Anniversary celebration at Arnolds Park Amusement Park. Volunteers can step forward by attending a 5:30 p.m. meeting Monday. Those who can't attend may email di@arnoldspark.com or call 712-332-2183.

Arnolds Park Amusement Park will celebrate its 125th anniversary this summer in the Iowa Great Lakes.

And marketing and communications director Di Lorenzen hopes the Iowa Great Lakes community will help put candles on the cake.

An informational meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 23, at the Iowa Great Lakes Welcome Center as the Park staff makes plans and seeks volunteers for the quasquicentennial.

"We'll have a list of activities that they can volunteer for," Lorenzen said. "I'm actually putting the whole list together right now."

Residents and guests can plan on a summer-long celebration at the historic park.

Arnolds Park Amusement Park began as a large water slide on the shores of West Lake in 1889 and blossomed into a centerpiece attraction of the Iowa Great Lakes. The amusement park shares a birth year with another historic monument -- the Eiffel Tower in Paris was constructed in 1889 as well.

Historic Arnolds Park Amusement Park is one of only five amusement parks in the country that are operated by a non-profit organization. But, it almost fell into the hands of the private sector.

In 1999, a deal was struck to sell Arnolds Park to a group of contractors who wanted to build condominiums on the lot. Area philanthropists balked at the Park's demise and started a region-wide "Save the Park" campaign.

A "Sustain the Park" drive in 2005 raised $2 million in funds after it became apparent many of the rides were suffering and the Park was in debt. The community has continued to support the Park. Its famous Legend wooden roller coaster was recently refurbished. Upgrades to the Queen II excursion steamboat are planned as well.

"It's very rewarding to work here and know that we have such a community that backs what we do everyday," Lorenzen said.

Visitors in 2015 can still count on music for all ages including Tuesday night big bands, Thursday night 50s and 60s performers and weekend concerts at Preservation Plaza.

"We're hoping to get as many people there (at Monday's meeting) as we can," Lorenzen said. "I've had some emails from people who don't live here in the wintertime. They've emailed me that they would like to be involved. So, if they can't make the meeting, just email me at di@arnoldspark.com, or give us a call here at the office."

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