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Kennywood reveals new things for its opening day, including information about a new ride called Potato Smash

Kennywood’s latest version of its famous Potato Patch fries will be crushed.

Kennywood’s latest version of its famous Potato Patch fries will be crushed.

The West Mifflin amusement park spent the offseason changing its classic bumper-car ride into a Potato Patch theme.

Named Potato Smash, the attraction will have 20 vehicles modeled after its signature snack, which guests wait in long lines near the Thunderbolt roller coaster to order.

Every car has been fitted with an image of French fries, oozing cheese sauce, and an oversized fork design on the back.

Potato Smash is one of the park’s improvements for its 126th season, which opens April 20. The park will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., some days until 8 p.m., on Saturdays and Sundays until daily operations begin May 23.

The Potato Smash cars are not here yet. The old cars will be used in the meantime.


Massoud Hossaini | TribLive
Ricky Spicuzza, Kennywood assistant general manager, explains Kennywood’s Potato Smash bumper-car ride during a media preview in West Mifflin on Wednesday.

The new cars are being made in Italy, said Rick Spicuzza, Kennywood’s assistant general manager, during a rainy media preview Wednesday at the park.

The height requirement to ride will be 42 inches. A debut date will be announced later.

“We are happy to serve up the cheesiest experience at Kennywood,” Spicuzza said. “We are probably the only park in the world to have this. We thought, ‘Why not be quirky and cheesy?’ The Potato Patch fries are our legacy brand. People can eat them, and now they can ride them.”

Two other rides have been restored — the Turtle and Aero 360.

The Turtle is the last operating ride of its kind in the world, said Marie Ruby, director of operations at Kennywood. It has been restored with new coats of paint and new seats.

“The Turtle is a ride for everyone,” Ruby said. “My three favorite rides are the Thunderbolt, Noah’s Ark and the Turtle.”

The Aero 360 pendulum ride, which features the iconic Kennywood arrows, has been refreshed with painted seats and an updated control system.


Courtesy of Kennywood
The Aero 360 pendulum ride at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin was refreshed with painted seats and an updated control system.

Penn Brewery, Pittsburgh’s first craft brewery, is partnering with Kennywood for Jeeters’ Pub, a hometown bar themed to Kennywood’s pink mascot from the 1970s. The establishment is expected to open sometime this summer. It will serve eight draft beers and charcuterie boards, wings and other pub snacks.

Penn Brewery owner Stefan Nitsch said the company created a strawberry funnel cake shandy brew for the occasion.

“It’s really good and not too sweet,” Nitsch said.

The Carousel Burger Co., an all-American restaurant, will be located in the original Merry-Go-Round pavilion. The place will feature chicken, hamburgers, fries and milkshakes. Kennywood strives to relate food to the park experience so having the Carousel Burger Co. in the former spot of the carousel makes perfect sense, said Ed Reams, Kennywood’s director of in-park revenue.

The Wacky Wheel, the park’s 100-year-old small Ferris Wheel, has been completely redesigned in Kiddieland.

The park’s store space, the Lost Kennywood Gift Shop, also went through a total transformation.

More events at Kennywood

Starting on Memorial Day weekend — May 24-27 — Kennywood will have special events:

• The Bites and Pints Food & Drink Festival comes back every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting on May 24 and ending on June 30.

• Celebrate Pittsburgh will take place on Saturdays and Sundays in July. It will display Pittsburgh’s arts, culture, sports, and beer. There will be a dance party near the lagoon with a disc jockey.

• Kennywood’s first-ever drone fireworks display will occur on July 20. There will be 300 drones in the sky.

“The show will be an exciting experience for guests,” said Taylor Bulischeck, director of marketing for Kennywood. “It will definitely showcase Kennywood custom designs. What they will be is a secret right now.”

• Celebrate America is back for July 4th.

• Fall Fantasy Parades, Phantom Fall Fest and Holiday Lights will also come back.

• Daily summer operation starts on Memorial Day weekend and will include night rides with select 10 p.m. closes.


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