This article appeared in The Billboard July 1, 1950
Lakeside, Forest Near Par At Dayton Despite Weather; Outlook for Season Bright
500,000 People Spend when Rain Does a Fadeout
DAYTON, O., June 24—Rainy weather considered, Dayton’s resorts, Lakeside Park on the west side of town and Frankie’s Forest Park on the north, have come thru the season to date in good shape and officials are unworried over prospects for the season.
In fact, both managements voice optimism over the outlook, basing their opinions on current high levels of industrial activity and wages in Dayton. “When the weather changes—as it is bound to do—we will get money,” they say, pointing out that whenever they have had a fair day people have attended in crowds and spent generously. Dayton’s 250,000 people and as many more in surrounding territory supply the market for the parks.
Kyle Anderson, promotion manager of Lakeside, in the absence of Manager Gerald Niermann, reported attendance and grosses to date on a par with 1949 figures, while Frank J. Schaufler, owner-manager of Forest Park, said figures for his spot thus far are only slightly behind last year’s. Per capita spending at Forest Park is unchanged, and picnic bookings are reported equal to last year’s.
Using Name Bands
Lakeside has added a Ferris Wheel this year and has repainted and redecorated the ballroom, its biggest grosser in which name bands are offered each Saturday night. Booked in so far are Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown, Artie Shaw, Ray Anthony, Woody Herman, Hal McIntyre and Art Mooney. During the week private dances are offered, using local talent.
Lakeside recently completed its season of high school and university prom dances.
Lakeside books about 12 big industrial outings each year, among them being events for employees of Frigidaire, McCall Publishing, Monsanto Chemical and carriers for The Dayton Daily News, plus smaller events, said Anderson. Fireworks, set off across the lake, are offered by the park in connection with those big outings and on holidays.
High among Lakeside’s income producers is Amuseland, an elaborate Penny Arcade whose more than 100 machines are the second best grosser for Manager Niermann. Best among the rides are the Wildcat and Auto Scooter.
To observe Lakeside’s 60th anniversary this year, Manager Niermann has scheduled a celebration the final week of the season. This will entail various civic days and prize
Plans are also being made to set up a Kiddieland next winter for the 1951 season. Tentative plans call for seven rides and concessions surrounded by a miniature train.
Among attractions and concessions in the park line-up are Caterpillar, Octopus, Cuddle Up, Paddle About, Merry-Go-Round, shooting gallery, Pretzel, Merry Mix-Up, Whoopee, Magic Carpet, Moon Rocket, kiddie ride, Flying Skooter, six refreshment stands and 10 game concessions.
Forest Park opened this year with installation of fluorescent lighting the length of the mall, and Operator Schaufler has under construction a poured concrete building which he may use for winter dancing. His Circle Ballroom, which derives its name from its style of construction, has canvas sidewalls for open-air dancing, making it impractical for winter use. Local bands are used exclusively. There is seating capacity for 1,100 around the floor
A veteran park concessionaire, Schaufler went on his own here 14 years ago, leasing 109 acres on which his plant is located and the park has shown consistent growth in that time. A great believer in giving patrons bargain prices for their entertainment, Schaufler credits this policy for his success here. To illustrate his policy, he points out that all attractions in his Kiddieland go for 5 cents, a price scale that was in effect even during the war years. “I would rather see the attractions in full operation at all times under a low price policy than have them standing idle part of the time,” Schaufler says. “People have a certain amount of money they allot for pleasure, and I try to give them the maximum amount of pleasure for their amusement dollar, believing that policy to be a great builder of good will.”
Race Track Assist
Helping Schaufler’s grosses along is a speedway on his tract which he leases to outside interests. Crowds attending the track to see stock car and midget auto races on Fridays and Sundays produce important business for Schaufler, for he catches their trade each night following the races.
Altho he has a large, well-equipped picnic area, outings do not loom large on Forest Park’s business calendar, Schaufler reported. He gets some good-sized outings, but many of the large firms in Dayton have their own recreational areas, thus cutting into the park picnic picture. Like Lakeside’s operators, Schaufler offers fireworks on holidays and big picnic days.
Forest Park’s line-up includes a Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round, Scooter, Frolic, miniature train, Tilt-a-Whirl, Looper, 12 rides in the Kiddieland, restaurant and game room, Penny Arcade, shooting gallery, six game concessions and six eat and drink stands.