Sunday, August 25, 2019

Frontier Town - Ocean City, Maryland

Frontier Town is a cool little park themed to the old west that’s celebrating 60 years in 2019. I guess it’s kind of like Knott’s Berry Farm before they started adding all the rides – as far as rides here go, there's not much more than a train and stagecoach, as was typical of parks like this built in the 1950s and 60s. The main attraction at Frontier Town is the western style shows, and there are all kinds, with everything from gunfights to the can-can playing out at some point during the day. In fact, when one show ends, another one begins shortly, so that’s the real appeal of Frontier Town.
The main entrance is simple and feels like it's been unchanged for years, and that spirit remains true throughout the entire park.
 Here's the town square, the main location where the park's shows happen during the day.
Shortly after the opening flag raising, the cattle came parading up the dusty trail! They played the theme from "Rawhide" during this bit, and I swear that I heard the "rolling, rolling, rolling" soundtrack at least five times during our visit. 

Also part of the opening ceremonies is this stagecoach, which gives rides through the backwoods of the park. Leaning out the window you can see "Desert Dan," who provided comedic relief (saying that my dad looked like his lost mule, for instance). 
 Here's one of those gun shows I was referring to. Even though they're all obviously fake, the actors were very upfront in extolling the dangers of their firearms.
 This train is the main ride here, and it runs off of real steam power. I've seen many pictures of this type of miniature locomotive being run at amusement parks, but they've been slowly eliminated over time. I guess most parks don't think that it's worth the effort to keep a complex machine like this running.

In the foreground is the body of water in which Frontier Town once had a riverboat ride, and although it is not operating anymore, the boat is still sitting out in the open. Predictably, the train ride also involves a robbery! I'm terrified.

 Much less complicated than the iron horse is this horse-powered merry-go-round.
There are some old "peek-in" dioramas around the park, like this Chinese laundry.
I was considering getting my cavity filled by "Dr. Yank'em," but now that I see this, I'm having second thoughts.
Through the blinding dust, you can see the saloon. Let's go there...
On the porch of the building, we see this old miner taking a look at a very strange-faced lady. The miner has been a Frontier Town icon for decades.
 Inside is the perfect venue for can-can shows.
At showtime, this place was packed!
 This stadium is the location for the "Great Western Stampede," a variety show. In this picture, you can see the buckboards that sped around the ring. There was also an eleven-year-old performer here, riding two horses at once while standing up!
On the way to the Indian Village is the "Mysterious Mine," a small tilt house with wacky, slanted floors.
 The Indian Village is the home of Native American dances, which are all presented very well with lots of historical "fact vs. fiction" background info.
 I love the humorous graves of the "Boot Hill" cemetery!

Frontier Town was a wonderful trip back into time when small, roadside attractions like this existed. Sure, they've added a waterpark and campground since then, but I'm glad that management sees value in keeping the western town around. It's all fueled by extremely corny humor,  but if you can get yourself to enjoy that (and we all really can if we try...) you'll like Frontier Town. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Trimper's Rides - The Historic Carousel Building

This post is a bit of a longer one; I hope you like the change!
At the south end of the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, there's a building that has been a fixture of the amusement park it is part of, Trimper's, for over 100 years. At the heart of both the building and the park is a historic, turn-of-the-century (I find conflicting dates everywhere.) carousel. It was manufactured by the Herschell-Spillman Company and is kept in very good shape. 
Here's the machine's "lead horse," or the animal that is most ornately designed. However, this carousel is of the menagerie variety, which means that there's everything from the rooster in the background of this picture to a frog wearing a tuxedo. 
A look around shows that there is more in this structure than just the carousel.
 The antique kiddie rides here represent one of the best collection of rides made by the W.F. Mangels company anywhere. The majority of them, like this Ferris Wheel, date from as far back as the 1920s.
Mangels is most famous for its invention of the Whip, and Trimper's has perhaps the most ornately painted version anywhere - and a kiddie one, at that!
 All around the carousel building is a prevailing sense of artistry, with pretty much every available surface beautified in some way.
Adjacent to the large version is a kiddie Merry-Go-Round that is also kept up with nicely.
Just look at those tiny murals on the back of this bench. Immaculate.
This Snoopy-themed Sky Fighter ride has most likely been the exact same from the 1960s, and it's been personalized in a way truly unique to the park. Take this, for example:
"If my brakes fail me, I'll be stuck on that Merry-Go-Round!"
Unsurprisingly, the Merry-Go-Round is right there!
These "wet" boats (real water) are very cool and quite large.
These clown faces are pretty prevalent among classic amusement parks, and Trimper's has two of them.
These buildings are real old-school amusement park experiences, trips back in time. They seem to be found pretty commonly on coastlines, with their collection of older kiddie rides, but the Trimper's collection is among the best remaining. But although it's my favorite place in the park, there's more to Trimper's than just this inside portion, and we'll be taking a look at in the future. There'll be more to come from the old rides in this building, as well.

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