Getting Ready for Opening Weekend at Knoebels

RALPHO TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- When the weather gets warm in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, a lot of people think of Knoebels Amusement Resort.

Whether they were painting, making candy, or even testing music, employees at Knoebels Amusement Resort near Elysburg were busy. Opening weekend is only a few days away, and there is still a lot to do.

"We do our ride inspections to make sure everything is in tip-top shape, get our food deliveries in," Knoebels spokesperson Stacy Ososkie said.

Knoebels Amusement Resort will open this weekend for the 92nd season. When it comes to getting an amusement park ready, it takes a village.

"It is really crunch time. There are some things that you've been putting off all winter, thinking I'll get to it, and, oh, my gosh, here we are five days to go and we better get to it," Knoebels food and beverage director Tony Rodriguez said.

There were almost 300 employees in the park getting it ready.

The Phoenix is a popular roller coaster. Before it's ready for riders, it goes through days of testing, as do all the rides.

"We're excited. We may go this weekend. We have to see what happens with our other children and their plans for this weekend, but we definitely frequent the park," Kim Pesarchick said.

"Knoebels is part of our family forever. My grandkids, even though they live close, they try to go as many times as they can," Judy Steenburg said.

Newswatch 16 got a sneak peek at Knoebels' newest attraction, Lazer Maze. The "Mission Impossible" style game challenges players to sneak through the lasers without touching them, or in a different version, touch as many lasers as you can.

"They keep amazing us on the rides that they put there and challenging us," Steenburg said.

The park is also introducing new foods this season, including craft sodas.

"They'll have 18 different flavors of syrups to add to any Pepsi cola," Rodriguez said.

Knoebels will also now have loaded tri-tators, loaded pierogies, fish tacos, lattes, and a Texas-sized BLT.

"We use the thick-cut bacon from our barbecue stand and mounds of tomatoes and lettuce on thick Texas toast," Rodriguez said.

It's not only about what's new. The Haunted Mansion has been at Knoebels for 45 years, but this weekend you can see it in a whole new way.

There is a charity auction at Knoebels Sunday morning featuring The Haunted Mansion. The top 12 bidders win a guided tour of the ride with the lights on. All proceeds go to "Give Kids the World", a nonprofit resort in Florida that helps seriously ill children.

"I think a lot of people have enjoyed the ride over the years and would love to see what it looks like with the lights on. There's a lot of artwork and detail that you don't get a full glimpse of because oftentimes you're too scared to look," Haunted Mansion Landlord Drew Kanaskie said.

Knoebels opens for the season this Saturday with buy one, get one free ride passes.