On Saturday, July 9, Martin's Fantasy Island will hold a special "50th birthday" celebration to mark the park's 50th year.
First opened in 1961 as a small "kiddie park" that featured storybook displays, a western street and small rides, Fantasy Island changed owners and its audience several times over the following years.
The park became Martin's Fantasy Island in 1994, when it was purchased by Martin DiPietro, and has since been developed into a family-friendly theme park and water park with rides, shows and features for all ages.
Saturday, Martin's Fantasy Island will recognize the park's opening year (1961) by reducing the adult admission to $19.61. The admission for kids under 48 inches tall will be reduced to $15.61.
Children will be encouraged to come dressed as cowboys or princesses - both popular themes from the park's past - and will be able to wear them in a costume show. A restored miniature "princess carriage" from the 1970s will give kids free rides. Local nonprofit groups will present kids' activities, and there will be a Western Street shootout that features lawmen and villains who performed during the last 50 years.
At 3 p.m. a birthday ceremony will take place in front of Mind Warp, the park's newest thrill ride. The marshal of Fantasy Island's Western Street will introduce local officials, who will cut a 50th birthday cake.
Fantasy Island 50th Birthday Celebration
When: Saturday, July 9
Where: 2400 Grand Island Blvd.
Admission (may not be combined with any other discounts, coupons, or promotions): adults - $19.61; children under 48 inches in height - $15.61
•Kids are encouraged to come dressed as cowboys or princesses
•Noon to 5 p.m.: free Princess Coach rides for kids (Carousel roadway - board at Liberty Bell)
•Noon to 3 p.m.: Kids' activities (Western Street)
•Noon to 4 p.m.: Book-signing by Rose Hirsch; author of "Western New York Amusement Parks" (Western Street)
•2:30 p.m.: Kids' Costume Show (Western Street)
•3 p.m.: 50th birthday ceremony (Midway near Mind Warp)
•3:30 p.m.: Oldtimers' shootout (Western Street)