CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – The Idora Park Experience will give people in the Youngstown area a chance to relive old times at the amusement park that burned down in 1993.
Jim and Toni Amey are hard at work preparing for their yearly Idora Park Museum opening. The Canfield museum contains authentic artifacts, including fire hydrants, games and parts of rides. It also holds a community’s long lost memories.
Jim went to the park when he was a kid, but it wasn’t until he and Toni walked through its charred remains that things changed.
“There was a light switch that was hanging from the football throw, just hanging by one screw,” he said. “I said, ‘I don’t care what you say, I’m taking that screw.’ And that’s the most prized thing I have in [the museum].”
The Ameys’ passion only grew from there.
“We’ve traveled all over the place. We’ve gone to Miami, Alabama, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey, Delaware, Indianapolis. We’ve been all over the place to find parts of Idora Park and bring it all together,” Jim said.
This year’s hot feature at the museum is the model of the Wildcat roller coaster. Ray Kondas’ brother, John, started building it in 1998 but never got to finish it.
“He was supposed to come home and finish the last one foot track…and he died of cancer,” Kondas said.
He and his wife picked up where John left off, but it’s been 13 years since they’ve worked with it. They want it to be fully-functioning for the open house.
“Little repairs here and there, a couple little cleaning up and the wheels need cleaning, and it will run again,” Kondas said.
There is also a new project this year with 12 Mahoning County Career and Technical Center students, who will be rehabbing one of the turtles from the Turtle Ride at Idora Park.
Their instructor, Joseph Sander, hopes the project teaches his students a valuable lesson.
“What it means to me is community. I always like to give back to the community any way I can. To my students, we’re going to find out what it means to them and hopefully in the long run, they’ll understand what it means to be a leader in the community.”
They will begin the project this month and hope to have it finished by April.
Jim says all the work they put into collecting and restoring parts of the amusement park is well worth it.
“It’s hectic right before we open up but once we open up, people start coming in and you see the faces, and hear the stories and that bad stuff goes away.”
Although the park is long gone, Kondas says its spirit lives on through this museum.
“Because it can and it always will. Everything here will, it’s all memories.”
The Idora Park Experience will be open October 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a $5 entrance fee.