For ten years a cherished Kings Island icon rested in a small, dark corner of the park gathering dust. Rarely seen since it was removed from public view in 2009, the lifeless Festhaus Glockenspiel characters have been poised and ready to announce the next quarter hour, which never came. A musician waited to raise his trumpet. A chef, to display his culinary creation. A couple, ready to raise their steins in celebration.
When Kings Island opens to Gold and Platinum Passholders for preview night on April 19th, guests will get a first look at the completely restored characters and new clock at the main Festhaus entrance in the Oktoberfest area of the park. Maintenance, signage, and technical services associates, as well as outside vendors, combined for more than 100 hours of restoration to bring both the glockenspiel and entrance of Festhaus back to life, including:
- A brand new clock supplied by The Verdin Company headquartered in Cincinnati
- Completely restored glockenspiel characters
- New hand stenciled artwork on the building’s exterior
According to Kings Island General Manager, Mike Koontz, restoring Festhaus’ exterior and glockenspiel pays homage to a building in the park with rich history.
“Above the doors to Festhaus are the lyrics to an old German Oktoberfest song,” Koontz said. “Translated, it says ‘A toast. A toast. To cheer and good times,’ and that’s what Festhaus has always been for Kings Island. A place where families can come together and create memories while eating together or enjoying a show. It seems only fitting that we restore the glockenspiel, to help bring back those memories and help today’s friends and families create new ones.”
In 2019, antique cars also will return to the park, along with a completely renovated International Street, and celebration of the Beast’s 40th anniversary. For many adults, this season they will see Kings Island like they haven’t in decades.
- The glockenspiel over the main entrance of Festhaus was made by employees in the Central Shop of Taft Attractions, the creative arm of Taft Broadcasting Company, which owned Kings Island when Festhaus was built.
- There are five fiberglass figures, each over four feet tall. Each were in disrepair until recently.
- Inside Festhaus are the original tables handcrafted by David T. Smith (and his staff), who still operates a workshop in Morrow, Ohio today.
- The Verdin Company provided both the original Festhaus clock in 1982 as well as the new clock which will debut at the beginning of the 2019 season.
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