Category Archives: Kennywood Park

Kennywood Park Holiday Lights named one of nation’s top theme park holiday events

For the fourth time in as many years, Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights was named among the nation’s Best Theme Park Holiday Events by USA Today.

Kennywood came in tenth place.

The 10Best.com site says a panel of experts chose the first 20 parks. The final votes came from people like you.

“We want to thank all those who took the time to vote for Holiday Lights,” Kennywood GM Jerome Gibas said in a statement. “Our team members put in many hours to bring Holiday Lights to life, and it’s rewarding to see our efforts recognized.”

Topping the list was An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Coming in at No. 2 was Smokey Mountain Christmas at Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee), which was recently featured in a Hallmark Channel movie.

Also making the list were Kings Island (No. 3), SeaWorld Orlando (No. 5) and Busch Gardens (Tampa at 6, Williamsburg at 8).

Kennywood offers 2 million lights, photos with Santa, local choir group performances, two synced lights shows at the lagoon and, of course, Potato Patch fries! In addition, Thomas Town and Kiddieland rides are available, plus some other rides (all weather permitting, of course).

I’ve written before about how amazing Kennywood at Christmas is. Words can’t properly describe the feeling of strolling through the park seeing the magic of Christmas at one of the world’s best amusement parks.

So, go to Kennywood before it closes for the season!

It is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through Dec. 22 and is open nightly from Dec. 26-30.

As of this posting, admission – if purchased online in most cases below – is as follows:

  • General admission: $19.49 (valid any night of Holiday Lights)
  • Friday or Sunday admission: $18.49
  • Holiday Lights season pass: $28 (valid for unlimited visits to Kennywood Park during the 2019 Holiday Lights season)
  • Select Passholder Nights: Free! Active season passholders receive free admission on select Holiday Lights dates. Kennywood’s site indicates that 2019/2020 Silver, Premium, Ride & Slide, and Senior passholders can show their pass at the main gate for complimentary admission on Dec. 13, 15, 20, 22, as well as 26-30.

Your ultimate guide to Pittsburgh area holiday events

I curated this epic list of Pittsburgh area holiday events to help guide you through the season! I did it for my actual full-time job since It’s Christmas 365 actually costs me money instead of making me money, haha.

The list has sooooo much in it. Take a look. Share with others! Reach out to me with events I missed. Or if you hit up any of these events, let me know! You might even see me there!

Visit, and vote for, Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights attraction

Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights event is up for USA Today’s “10 Best” theme parks with holiday events.

Go here to vote.

What makes Holiday Lights awesome? Well, let me tell you.

Kennywood Park already is a regional (and national) treasure, with its roller coasters, old rides and Potato Patch fries.

Now add the festive feeling of the holidays, twinkling lights, Santa, and you’ve hit the holiday mecca.

The park celebrates the holidays with more than 2 million (!!) lights, including a twinkling lights show synchronized to a great holiday music playlist, the state’s tallest Christmas tree and so much more!

The lagoon offers two different 10-minute holiday lights shows. Plus, area high schools and other groups perform at the Garden Stage.

As for rides, the park offers Thomas Town (including the train), Auto Race, Ghostwood Estate, Kangaroo, Merry-Go-Round, Noah’s Ark, Paratrooper, Pirate and and up to 10 Kiddieland rides. (Ride availability is weather dependent.)

The park offers two different extra add-ons for kids: Dinner with Santa and the Thomas & Friends Party Experience.

Kennywood Park is a magical place in the summer. But the holidays give it an extra special magical feeling.

There’s something amazing about eating Potato Patch fries in crisp, seasonal temperatures as thousands of lights twinkle all around.

Along with some rides and Potato Patch fries, the park offers plenty of holiday-themed fun, including a huge model train display set up inside Penny Arcade. There always are so many fun, little things to check out in the display. Look closely for animated people, and be sure to spot the tiny amusement park!

Each night, a different Pittsburgh “celebrity” reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” including Sally Wiggin and Rick Sebak. The park usually provides a calendar of readers on its site, but nothing is available as of this posting.

New this year, the park’s 4D theater will show “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The show is a condensed version of the popular holiday classic and, of course, in 4D!

Plus … the park usually offers Parker’s Dance Party and a magic show of some sort at Kennyville Stage. (Parker is Kennywood’s arrow mascot, and it’s joined by mascots from sister parks: Sandcastle’s Dunkin, Idlewild’s Ricky Raccoon and Duke from Dutch Wonderland.)

More details

Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights begins Nov. 22. It is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through Dec. 22 and is open nightly from Dec. 26-30.

As of this posting, admission – if purchased online in most cases below – is as follows, based on “sale” prices:

  • General admission: $19.49 (valid any night of Holiday Lights)
  • Friday or Sunday admission: $18.49
  • Holiday Lights season pass: $28 (valid for unlimited visits to Kennywood Park during the 2019 Holiday Lights season)
  • Select Passholder Nights: Free! Active season passholders receive free admission on select Holiday Lights dates. Kennywood’s site indicates that 2019/2020 Silver, Premium, Ride & Slide, and Senior passholders can show their pass at the main gate for complimentary admission on Nov. 22, 24, 29; and Dec. 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, as well as 26-30.
  • 412 Food Rescue: $14.99 with personal care item: Kennywood is partnering with 412 Food Rescue to collect personal care items (such as oral care products, diapers and feminine hygiene products, soap, deodorant and toilet paper). These items will be distributed to 412 Food Rescue’s clients. Kennywood guests who donate a personal care item when they visit between Nov. 22 and Dec. 8 receive a coupon for $6 off admission on up to four tickets.

‘Run, Santa, Run’ 5K at Kennywood!

There’s almost nothing more festive in Western Pennsylvania at the holidays than Kennywood Park.

And if you’re someone who loves the holidays, loves Kennywood and runs, walks or yogs, the “Run, Santa, Run” 5K on Dec. 22 might just be your thing.

The 5K begins at 3 p.m. and includes a ticket to Holiday Lights!

You’ll get to run through Kennywood Park while it’s decked for the holidays!

Along with a medal, shirt and other fun stuff (cookies and hot chocolate), participants get a Santa hat, bag, beard and gloves. And, participants get a free beer, too!

Cost is $45 through Dec. 21. It’s $50 on race day.

Runners are encouraged to dress “festive,” the website says.

12 Sleeps to Christmas: Special ornaments

Some people theme trees with colors, patterns or styles.

While themed trees look beautiful, I prefer trees that truly represent a person or family through the ornament choices.

My family’s main tree is filled with a number of handcrafted and store bought ornaments — many of which tell the stories of our lives.

Whether it’s an ornament showcasing the Pittsburgh skyline, Myrtle Beach or “baby’s first Christmas,” they all tell a story.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite ornament. I love all of the ornaments depicting Kaufmann’s Clock and the Horne’s tree. My Kennywood Park ornaments (especially the wooden pieces of coaster track) are great, too.

But the ornaments I love most are the ones from my grandparent’s tree.

They are simple glass balls with designs.

Most are in OK shape with some obvious signs that they’re old.

I don’t put all of these special ones on the tree. Some remain in the containers so to try to protect some of them.

They sit near the top to avoid being swatted by a dog’s tail.

I wish I knew more about their origin — what store they’re from, who designed them, if they’re part of a larger collection.

I know nothing about them except that they were part of my grandparents’ tree for decades.

As a kid I remember helping my grandma hang them on her tree.

The ‘Confluence’: Where Pittsburgh and the holidays come together

photo by WESAI was graciously invited to return to 90.5 WESA’s “The Confluence” program to share my love of Pittsburgh and the holiday season with listeners.

We talked PPG Place gingerbread houses, local artisan markets, walking tours, and, of course Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights.

I joined Rossilynne Culgan, at The Incline and Katie Blackley, of WESA.

Tune in around the 24-minute mark to hear the interview.