TR: Stricker's Grove - 6/17/12
Trip Report: Stricker's Grove
June 17, 2012
Every year my parish, St. Cecilia’s hosts their parish picnic at Stricker’s Grove on Father’s Day. This year April and Dave had expressed an interest in joining me, and at the last minute April asked if she could bring Adam. So, with all that settled, we were set for a day at the park. I started the day with Mass, brunch, and then a trip past the grocery to pick up our contribution to the pot luck dinner. In the end, this was just as well because we had a heavy downpour pass through the area between 1 and 2. Shortly after 2, we headed out to the park. There is some construction between Norwood Lateral and I-75, so we used the alternate route the church had published in the event flyer. Essentially you head out Colerain Ave to 128, and approach the park from the opposite direction.
Once we arrived at the park, shortly before 3, we found a parking space, walked in the front gate, and dropped our food off to the big hall. The event includes free parking, free admission, free rides, free dinner, free soft drinks, and free beer. We picked up some drinks, and then I meddled around the picnic grove waiting for the others to arrive. While I waited I signed up for my usual blackjack dealing assignment at the church festival next month.
Once the rest of the ride fanatics arrived, we got some free drinks and then headed to the midway. In the Skee Ball building, I noted they have replaced the skee ball machines with newer models. The midway layout itself hasn’t changed this year, it’s basically one long straight midway. Starting from the entrance and heading back, on the left you see a Carousel, Dumbo (yes the park has the guts to call it Dumbo), Train, Ferris Wheel, Tip Top, Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, Pirat, and ending up at the Tornado wood coaster at the very back. On the right hand side, you have the kiddie rides: boats, cars, planes, turtle, whip, and the Teddy Bear junior wood coaster. Past the Teddy Bear but before the Tornado are the Flying Skooters and Super Round Up.
We all headed back to the Flying Skooters and had a somewhat satisfying if snap free ride. The ride does have great visuals as you fly over and near the wood coasters. From the Flying Skooters we headed to the Tornado. With the light crowd they were giving double rides on the Tornado. In the past they would allow re-rides if nobody was in line, but if even one person was in line, you had to walk around. This year they were giving double rides, by which time a small line would have assembled. Last year, we had commented on how smooth the Tornado was running, but now it is back to its usual self, which means the two wonderful pops of airtime are back. Tornado isn’t the biggest wood coaster, at only about 55’-60’ tall, but it based on a proven Herb Schmeck design, the Rocky Glen Mighty Lightning.
From the Tornado, we headed to the other wood coaster, the Teddy Bear, modeled after a coaster of the same name at Cincinnati’s Coney Island back in the 30’s Or the standard PTC kiddie wood coaster. It’s a smallish wood coaster, but its not a bad ride at all. From the Teddy Bear, we took rides on the Ferris Wheel, and by the time that ride had ended it was time for dinner. At Stricker’s Grove the rides close down during the dinner break, which gives the operators a built in break, and makes it easy to get the entire family to the dinner table. We headed up to the front of the park for the longest line fo the day, that to pick up our picnic meal of burgers, hot dogs, brats, potato salad, roast corn and all the side dishes and deserts people had brought. Dinner was a social affair, and we had a great conversation over food before heading back to the rides.
After dinner, we started out with a ride on the train. Sometimes, we have seen some interesting things on the train, but that hasn’t been the case for awhile. The train is the classic circle the park train ride, including the parking lot. The big feature of the train ride is the impossibly small tunnel under the park entrance road. After the train ride, we took a ride on the world’s slowest Scrambler, another double ride on the Tornado, and a ride on the Flying Skooters. After that we went to get more drinks and ice cream.
After the ice cream, there was a bit of a disagreement between April and Adam regarding leaving Stricker’s for Kings Island and Diamondback or playing mini golf at Strickers. I would normally be willing for the jump to Kings Island, but due to special circumstances that isn’t an option this year. Which meant, I had no choice, so I could step back and watch the discussion play out. In the end, we deicded on the round of mini golf. The parks mini golf course is located in the very back of the picnic grove, and runs alongside the Teddy Bear. Mini golf is not included in the picnic, but at only $3 for an 18 hole game, it is very reasonable. The course itself, is very typical of a 1970’s era mini golf. All but one of the standard moving targets have been removed and the obstacles are typical 70’s stuff, like the metal loop, or the pinball bridge, the lighthouse (the park removed the moving target, but put a gumball light up top). For the most part the course is in good condition. One hole has the carpet torn up pretty bad, but other than that, it’s in good shape. It has a couple unusual holes, like one where the tee mat could be easily missed as it is right next to a pipe that runs under a flower bed. Yes, you tee off right into that pipe. Then, there is a large diamond shaped green. It appears to be a simple straight shot, but as Dave said, “These are the holes that scare me, what am I missing?” The final hole is a lot harder than it should be, it’s the usual Putt Putt Golf and Games final hole, except they didn’t put the short drop at the end of the tall hill so the ball can’t roll back down once it gets to the top.
It takes awhile to play mini golf, and so we were the last group in from playing, which left just under a half hour to go in the park operating day. We stopped by for some drinks, and then the rest of the ride nuts went to Kings Island, and I headed home.