May 8, 2009
Drag Races and Such at Dorney
Dorney Park is celebrating it's 125th Anniversary, as noted by The Morning Call and Remember*, by blogger Andrew Kleiner. A landmark that old, has provided memories for five generations. As a teenager in the 1960's, friday nights at Castle Rock, a dance hall from the twenties, were literally a Freddy Cannon moment. Park admission was free, and there were many attractions which no longer exist, most victim to fire. In addition to the dance hall, there was also a roller skating ring and a stock car race track. The picture above was part of a large neon sign on Hamilton Blvd., on the northwest corner with Cedar Crest Blvd.
In 2007 John Travolta,dressed in drag, portrayed Hollywood's version of Hairspray, initially made by campy underground film maker John Waters, and shot at Dorney Park in 1988. Travolta's part was originally played by a less wholesome, real life female impersonator named Devine, who died shortly after the movie was released.
In my father's time, you could get the trolley at 8th and Hamilton and take it to Dorney Park. Through the 1980's, you could still drive on the road which went right through the middle of the park. Now, combined with a water park, Dorney has become a regional attraction. Busloads of children and families come from New York and elsewhere, but it will always remain a rite of passage for local youngsters.