Author Topic: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports  (Read 7076 times)

KevinLong

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2023, 10:57:52 AM »
report from 5/15/23  Monday  - BBQ and bluegrass fest??? I guess if they say so.

Headed down to to the park yesterday. despite the rain warnings the park was packed.

Bought premium parking and the signage is not too great yet. I parked near the tower where it used to be, thinking that was where I needed to park. I found later as I walked up that I think I could have pull a LOT closer to the entrance in fact. not clear at all. so try to get closer if you can. I noticed they removed the wall behind the big entry sign photo op. Strange move to me. Be sure to update your SDC app for the year. My pass came up as unscannable on my phone and I spent 20 min waiting for this info from the guest relations people. an update solved the problem.

As usual I forgot about the enormous amount of children bussed in for their senior and class trips. Normally does not bother me too much. With all the rides closed for the passing storms the ride lines were not available to keep them occupied so they were everywhere. I am too old to be crammed in with people of that age.

My take on the BBQ and bluegrass fest. Not good. I bought the tasting passport. I read on the pass that these were tasting size portions( maybe I got lucky- cause mine were all full sized.) I mention this because I thought I would get a dinky lil pizza at crossroads and got a regular size BBQ "pulled pork?"- thought it would be small so I ordered two. Error - not great - could find no pork on mine ( either one) and BBQ sauce, cheese and onions is not a bbq pizza.  All the food was much better when consolidated to the RED GOLD HALL as it was in the past. Later I got the BBQ chicken and cheese cone at the wagon wheel. another disappointment - FRIED chicken nuggets with BBQ sauce  and cheese in a cone. again not really BBQ. Grilled chicken would have been easy and much better. and it was a BBQ festival.

As to the bluegrass Portion - I found the artists/ shows to be mainly of a religious bent ( bluegrass music has that habit and when controlled its OK) the two shows of bluegrass I saw weren't. As a non religious person I kinda don't want a church music service. The other group I "heard" was "Hot Time In River-town" in the dockside theater. This show was easily heard up and down the street as they performed. Unfortunately, it wasn't bluegrass, it was MODERN music adaptations that really did not fit SDC or the Festival. Why a Bluegrass band was not put in there shows a huge opportunity missed. The new fried food booth looks fine, but also looks brand new and very Disney-esque. Architecturally it looks appropriate, but also out of place. 

The train is getting some more attention I think - I did not see it mentioned but they have updated the moonshine still with more theming and added to the Bolens camp as well. Give it time, I think it is still getting more updates as the year progresses.  oh and I noticed they have put some type of rubber track sealing strips or something over the track where you cross at the pottery shop. I presume to prevent tripping and twisted ankles etc. can't even see the rails. First time I have seen the product. seems like a good idea.

It rained lightly for about 10 min then hard for about another 10, then that was it - there was lightning in the area for some time so at one point everything was closed. Very warm for mid May low 80's -

Thanks for reading and keep in mind, I am a crotchety old man who was going to the park way back when you could get a stagecoach ride. Everything has to grow and change and it is tough watch everything you remember from your childhood and good times removed or replaced. Sounds like I hate the park but it is totally the opposite.

as always my two cents.
Kevin

shavethewhales

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2023, 01:52:05 PM »
Always tough to pick a good weekend in spring to go. Those school trips are a pain to get around.

Bluegrass in this region is basically married with religion, so that's just part of it I guess. It can make it hard to get into if you aren't used to it. That new show on the riverfront is supposed to be "modern" though, and remember: it replaced the Cajun Connection which never really "fit" SDC either, lol. I'm not personally a fan of "karaoke" style shows myself though, but some people like it and there's plenty of other great music around the park this time of year.

That food during this fest has been on a downhill since they started it. Back when the fest was new, they brought in local BBQ shops from around SW MO and it was pretty neat. Later they scaled it back to just SDC setting up a few stands with different "styles" in Red Gold Hall. Now it sounds like it's more BBQ themed foods than BBQ, lol. Looks like there's a bit of BBQ around the park, but mostly at the normal BBQ places. I miss the Red Gold Hall setup as well - what are they doing in there instead? Just music?

Always good to hear how the city is doing, thanks for sharing.

KevinLong

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2023, 02:26:08 PM »
Best I could tell the red gold had the headliner music guest - no food.

Kevin.

Pintrader

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2023, 05:08:28 PM »
I am not sure why the barbecue never came back to Red Gold after the pandemic since attendance has definitely rebounded from it.  I guess it could be a shortage of workers or they don't want competition that might take away from the other eateries & especially Rivertown Smokehouse.  Probably a little of both! 

Also they are not using the Opera House as the main headliner entertainment as in the past for Bluegrass & Barbecue.  I guess they figure why try to fill the Opera House with Red Gold open and save on entertainment while their at it.

sdcfan88

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2023, 05:56:55 PM »
BBQ? What BBQ? Yeah I forgot to mention in my report that the BBQ festival was laskluster (to put it nicely) on my last visit. There wasn't even the BBQ tasting tent or BBQ related merch to buy like in years past. The day I went the smokehouse wasn't even open. I get the feeling the festival may get canned or rebranded for something else next season.

Pintrader

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #35 on: May 16, 2023, 06:41:20 PM »
The barbecue tasting tent hasn't been there for several years.....not really sure how many.  I can't imagine the Bluegrass & barbecue festival getting canned.  Some of the entertainment seems to have gone more towards the country crowd with Country Music Days and a few concerts in recent years.  Might be rebranded Bluegrass & Country Music Festival or something of that nature.  Nowadays it is really difficult trying to decide exactly in which direction they are going whether it be rides or festivals.

KevinLong

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #36 on: May 16, 2023, 07:54:00 PM »
Well I did notice the music was much more counrty/bluegrass than "hardcore" bluegrass.

Kevin

shavethewhales

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2023, 08:26:20 AM »
I did a quick trip on Saturday and can now definitely add my complaints about there being neither enough BBQ or bluegrass for this BBQ and bluegrass event. I think for the past couple years we were just grateful for whatever they could muster during the pandemic issues, but now I want to see things get back to where they were.

On a positive note, I did have the bbq potato chips from the stand next to the lumbercamp and they were good.

On the operations side, everything was indeed running great. FITH has a large line all the time now, going through the full queue and through the cemetery.

I do have to say that the park objectively feels more sterile now than ever. The missing signage around Wildfire/AP, cleaned out flower beds (no miscellaneous theming anymore), all the tack has been pulled off buildings, etc. We get a few new screen printed signs here and there but that's about it anymore. The massive new parking lot kind of sends it home. The biggest effort into theming now is all the Coke branded items.  ::)

Pintrader

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2023, 10:28:44 AM »
It's such a shame that it takes the closing of such an iconic & classic ride as FITH for people to realize that they will miss an iconic & classic ride.  I guess in recent years people thought they could ride it anytime because it would always be there.  I was there last Thursday and the park is really getting away from the 1880's theme park experience at a very fast rate.  They wanted to do this 30 years ago and with the lighter sprinkling of an older look and painting with brighter colors on some of the newer buildings  it seems they are slowly getting their way.

On a side note as we were entering through the metal detectors Jack Herschend was going around them and was stopped and told he needed to come through them.  Well that was until they recognized him and changed their tune fairly quickly......kind of funny!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2023, 07:33:09 AM by Pintrader »

palallin

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2023, 10:29:21 AM »

 all the tack has been pulled off buildings, etc.

Perhaps the most disturbing detail yet.  Doing so is not neglect but rather targeted removal, actual effort into not just failing to replace but also intentional change.  That took man hours, man hours dedicated to eliminating the atmosphere.

Okiebenz

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2023, 06:55:09 PM »

 all the tack has been pulled off buildings, etc.

Perhaps the most disturbing detail yet.  Doing so is not neglect but rather targeted removal, actual effort into not just failing to replace but also intentional change.  That took man hours, man hours dedicated to eliminating the atmosphere.

Wow

shavethewhales

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2023, 08:25:22 AM »
lol, well it is an intentional change. The tack got old and ragged, and the park is indeed moving consciously to more of a "clean" rustic look. Basically just wood siding and paint. No random saws and whatever on the sides of buildings. It's different, and I preferred the old look, but if there's one thing constant at SDC it's change. They'll probably go back to more theme items in a few years when it becomes a better point of differentiation vs the other parks.

As we've noted before, in the old days they themed the park by going to local thrift stores and loading up the wagon, back in the days when antiques were actual legit antiques and people didn't think anything of old saws and horse tack in the back of a store. Don't forget that when SDC started in 1960, the 1880's were only 70 years in the past! It was a celebration of the old days by the grandchildren of the people alive in the 1880's. Some of the junk that filled flowerbeds or adorned walls at SDC throughout the years would be priceless now.

KBCraig

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2023, 07:00:40 PM »
Some of the junk that filled flowerbeds or adorned walls at SDC throughout the years would be priceless now.
And, some of the stuff that SDC dumped in the landfill would have commanded high prices at auction.

I'm happy for the Citizens who got first dibs and rescued some of it.

Pintrader

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2023, 08:21:08 AM »
Just wondering if anyone has had the honor of using the priority gate entrance for gold & diamond season pass holders?  In my opinion it is a very strange and somewhat comical perk.  For anyone not familiar it is as you enter through the old arch by the big SDC sign.  You go through the arch and in front of you is a little bridge to cross over that says for gold & diamond pass holders.  So if not a preferred pass holder you should walk around the old way by guest relations and enter the line.  Saves I am guessing about 100 feet of walking.  My question would be why would anyone walk around when there is no line and no one that mans the little bridge?  Seems to me like just such a small thing that it should not have even been implemented which will just irritate some people.

cowboy

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Re: 2023 Crowds / Trip Reports
« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2023, 10:14:24 AM »
I'm a diamond pass holder - and I've not used that entrance, we're always buying another ticket for someone - so we just go around the regular way.

If it's just crossing the bridge and that's it - then yeah, just a marketing ploy. However, if the little bridge leads to a separate line through the gate - that becomes a bit more of a perk, especially on busy days. But I haven't even looked to see how that entrance works.

Jay