Sylvan Beach midway attractions might not open til July 4

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) - Sylvan Beach Amusement Park is opening later than usual this year. 

Signs on the boarded-up midway attractions say, "Opening June 28."  A sales official with the parent company, Empire Attractions, said by phone Tuesday that that was still the case.

But the Sylvan Beach mayor met with the owner on Monday, and says that it's not what's happening.

"The next date is he'd like to be open by the Fourth of July and I'm not sure if he's going to be able to do (it). He's got some challenges ahead to do that," says Mayor Greg Horan.

While the midway remains closed, another Sylvan Beach centerpiece is open for business.  Sue Carello has operated Carello's Carousel and Arcade for four decades.  The carousel building is currently open weekends. Carello hopes the midway opens by July 4, and is rooting for the owner to accomplish this goal.  But judging by what she knows it takes to open her single business each year, she has her doubts.

"It takes us a month.....I wouldn't be able to do it. I mean, he's got several rides, arcades, and all kinds of businesses."

Empire Attractions still has to provide the village with an insurance certificate. They would have to rehab the Yesterday's Royal building, currently deemed unsafe for occupancy because of a noticeably sagging north wall, thanks in part to a very harsh winter. In addition, all the rides would have to be up and running and submit to state safety inspections. The mayor has seen no activity on the midway in anticipation of these challenges.

"Is there a remote chance that it won't? Yes. Is there a concern? There's a concern but as I said, we've got a lot of other attractions in Sylvan Beach."

The main attraction is the beach itself.  Sunsets on Oneida Lake, which can be viewed from a number of waterfront restaurants, some of which offer live entertainment. Then, there are other souvenir shops and of course -- Carello's. 

People who spent their childhoods on the midway and now bring their children there wait to see if the annual, now generational, trip down memory lane, will continue.

"I've been coming here for years. I bring my kids here. My kids enjoy it. Most of the time when we come here, it's on one of the overcast cloudy days. It'd be real sad if the place doesn't open. It's been a staple here for I-don't-know-how-many years. I know I've been coming here for 40 years," says Tom Jaeger.


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