Summertime in Pittsburgh means at least one visit to Kennywood.
If you've never heard of it, you're missing out; Kennywood is a local amusement park that is full of fun for everyone. It's got roller coasters, games, water rides, greasy park food, and Kiddieland.
It also has geniuses in the marketing department.
About this time each year, schools in the area have a Kennywood Picnic - an allotted day for their district to visit the park. Tickets are actually sold during school hours. Some districts even have a half day of school so the kids can get to Kennywood early. The students and faculty come and bring their parents and relatives, and everyone spends money there. Genius.
I can't think of any other business that has this type of agreement for the use of their product. It's a school mandated activity for goodness sake! Could you see having an early dismissal from school to go play paintball or something? Highly unlikely. Well, maybe in West Virginia.
The school picnics wind down in June, but don't fear. The marketing department has come up with other park-fillers.
There are Community Days for local townships and boroughs. Businesses have company picnics at the park. There are church group get-togethers and family reunions and even a Girl Scouts' day. And there are Heritage Days, too, when booths are set up with cultural information and pastimes, and ethnic food is available. Can you imagine thousands of Slovaks crowding the park, eating haluski and riding the tilt-a-whirl? It's pretty wild.
And at the end of the season, everything comes full circle, as local school districts are invited to have their bands march in nightly parades.
Oh, yeah. There are other people that come to Kennywood, too. People who pay full price and are not attached to any group, school or nationality that has a day. Or so I've heard. But there are no exclusive picnics - anyone can come on any given day. Once again, genius.
Still, the park wouldn't get many visitors if it wasn't fun. It is a great time.
I'm actually going to Kennywood tomorrow. I think it's blogger's day, or Corsica owners day.
Or something like that.