This post is from my pal, Alex of Everybody Loves You, and world-famous cookie exchange organizer and Miss America Party Emcee! Send me a message at beezuskiddo [at] gmail [dot] com if you’d like to share your Pittsburgh Summer Favorites on BeezusKiddo!
I grew up in Pittsburgh. I also grew up relatively poor*. That means that there were no Disneyland trips or vacation cruises on the agenda whenever school let out and summer rolled around. Thankfully there was one activity that my family could afford which was a guaranteed rollercoaster of a good time – Kennywood!
On Kennywood day, we’d wake up early to load a Styrofoam cooler with snacks (grapes, cheese sticks) and drinks (Faygo for the kids, Coors Light for the adults). We would then make our way down PA 837 and follow the Kennywood arrow signs through the dilapidated steel towns that dotted the banks of the Monongahela River. The voyage was actually quite depressing, but our excitement would skyrocket as soon as the peak of the Laser Loop came into view.
I have many vivid memories of my trips to Kennywood growing up, and I’ve shared a few below. Enjoy!
I remember the first time that I saw the Dippin’ Dots stand. I could not have been more eager to try the “Ice Cream of the Future” and I begged my parents to buy me some. After much pleading and promising to be nicer to my sister, they acquiesced to my demands. Unfortunately after a few scoopfuls of the tiny frozen spheres, I soon realized that the future must suck because Dippin’ Dots sure did. That experience tied with seeing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze as the biggest disappointments of my childhood.
I’m not sure if it was all the ups-and-downs of the rollercoasters or what but romance was always in the air at Kennywood. My friends and I would spend half the day riding the Racer and the other half trying to meet girls. On the rare occasion that we succeeded, Kennywood offered plenty of picturesque romantic activities such as holding hands on the Rotor, kissing behind the mushroom fountain and the ultimate – touching a boob during a Gold Rusher gondola ride.
Imagine wearing jean shorts, a Yancy Thigpen Steelers jersey and high-top sneakers. Now imagine getting that outfit soaking wet with pond water, and then just continuing to walk around in it all day. Sounds horribly uncomfortable and unsanitary, right? That may be true, but a joyous trip on the Log Jammer made it all worth it. I think what I loved most about the Log Jammer was that my whole family of four could pile into one boat. On all the other rides you either sat with strangers or with a partner, but the Log Jammer was a family affair. And just like my family, the Log Jammer had its ups and downs and twists and turns and got messy at times, but we navigated it all together.
Post-Log Jammer funnel cakes were and still are the bestest thing ever.
* I recently looked up my childhood home in the Allegheny County Real Estate website and found that it last sold for $16,000 in 2012. That’s basically what I spent on Frappuccino’s last year.
Thanks to Alex of Everybody Loves You for sharing his Pittsburgh summertime favorites!!