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Memorable ride



Published: Thu, September 2, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.

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George Summers and Melanie Smith pose in a Wildcat roller-coaster car from Idora Park on display at the Canfield Fair. Smith’s father, Robert Karzmer of Youngstown, found the 1,000-pound original coaster car in a local body shop.

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Robert Karzmer of Youngstown has brought a car from an Idora Park roller coaster to the Canfield Fair. Fairgoers who miss the Wildcat, or were born after the park’s closure in 1984, can hop in the coaster car and have their picture taken in it with an 8-foot-by-10-foot backdrop of the Wildcat track for $10.

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

CANFIELD

When Melanie Smith was

4 years old, she got stuck at the top of Idora Park’s Jack Rabbit roller coaster.

“We had to walk down the hill,” said Smith, who was with her father at the time. “Now my dad has felt the need to keep Idora Park alive.”

Smith’s father, Robert Karzmer of Youngstown, has brought a piece of an Idora Park roller coaster to the Canfield Fair, but instead of the Jack Rabbit, it’s a car from the Wildcat.

“I figured in a hard economy people like nostalgia,” Karzmer said.

He compared the Wildcat as a Youngstown landmark to the Statue of Liberty as a New York landmark. In the 1970s, American Coaster Enthusiasts ranked the Wildcat among the Top 10 coasters in the country.

Now, fairgoers who miss the Wildcat, or were born after the park’s closure in 1984, can hop in the coaster car and have a picture taken in it with an 8-foot-by-10-foot backdrop of the Wildcat track for $10. Karzmer’s display of Idora memorabilia, including tickets and popcorn boxes, is at 129 Kohler Drive, near the Yo-Yo swing ride.

“I’ve bolted it on a trailer and tilted it up, and then I take a picture from an even higher perspective, so it looks like you’re moving on the track,” Karzmer said.

Karzmer found the 1,000-pound original coaster car in a local body shop. Graphic designer Ron Smith, who used to work at Idora Park, replicated the car’s decals and enlarged the Wildcat track photo.

About nine years ago, when the lingering skeletons of the Wildcat and Jack Rabbit were demolished, Karzmer bought some wood from the Wildcat that he uses to make photo frames.

“Idora Park was about going with your family and friends,” Karzmer said. “It was a simpler, easy time in Youngstown.”


Comments

1dck516(25 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

What memories! Excellent idea, Bob Karzmer and great article, Vindi!

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2Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Oh how I miss Idora. Worked there from 1979-1984. What memories.

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3seminole(476 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Okay, dude references the poor economy then he wants to jack people $10 for a pic with the car? What an entreprenuer...

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4jrolley325(800 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

hahahahahahahaha i literally just laughed out loud.

seriously people, the place is closed and burned. time to move on already.

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5Woody(452 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Entrepreneur is right.

We need more people like him. Invest some money; I am sure he had to buy the car, pay money to print the photo of the Wildcat, gas for the truck, camera, film, printing the picture, cost to get a space at the fair, time, etc.

He is willing to take a chance that in a poor economy people will want to spend $10 on getting their picture taken and he is able to break even. I hope he turns a profit.

If you think $10 is too much Seminole, don't get your picture taken. No one is forcing you. You can make that choice.

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6FrmrCnfldRes(3 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm with JRolley on this one. The park closed for good 25+ years ago. While it's great to have memories, it's really unhealthy to dote on the past as much as some do.

There are plenty of things to do in the area including other amusement parks less than an hour away.

Support local by all means, but doting on something that happened over a quarter of a century ago is just weird.

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7jetercp(67 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

seminole, i cant agree more... i cant believe how this town just cant move on. i have never seen a town so stuck in the past...
all the classic car shows
all the radio stations are classic rock
everything is stuck in a time warp.

$10? what a rip for a picture in a little car he didnt even clean up in front of a backdrop...
unreal...

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8walter_sobchak(1922 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

jetercp, et al:

You people are f****d in the head! Y-town is moving on; we just haven't wanted to let go of those things that are part of our up-bringing, heritage, and culture. Guess what, I will still be going to the Canfield Fair this weekend like I have for the last 40 years or so. I enjoy seeing the 4-H kids and talking to them.

We like classic car shows because cars were made after WW II until the EPA forced the automakers into cookie-cutter sh!tboxes in the mid-70's.

We like classic rock because rock is no longer made. It was made from the mid-50's until the early '80's. Time-warp radio exists every weekend on 98.9 FM. I still like to take my wife dancing to the music of that era because you can't dance to the crap that is made now (unless making a porno is dancing).

I will gladly take a picture for $10 with my wife in this little car because that is exactly how I remember the ride. Pretty scuffed-up. Sure, Idora Park was a dump, but it was our dump!

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9najjjj(106 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

JRolley and FrmrCnfldRes, just curious........how old are the both of you?

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10CrestwoodRocks(107 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Portage County has had defunct parks. Lake Brady in Brady Lake Township which closed in the mid 1950s. Shady Lake which closed in Streetsboro around the same time Idora Park Closed. And finally Geauga Lake which is now just a wildwater Kingdom.

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11Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

walter_sobchak

Nicely said.

I really don't know what some of these people would do without complaining about EVERYTHING!

Always will keep the memories of Idora Park forever...

"During the hardship the community was suffering, Idora Park still boasted existing rides. The Idora Park Merry-Go-Round was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. In 1976, Idora Park was named one of the nation's 100 best amusement parks in Gary Kyriazi's book, Great American Amusement Parks. By 1980, the Wild Cat and Jack Rabbit were recognized as some of the best coasters in the country."

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12paulydel(1308 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

Idora Park was a great place. Those that say it was about family and fun are exactly right. My dad would take us there when we were kids and I took my girlfriends there. You could have a lot of fun and you didn't have to sell your first born to buy tickets either. Those that say we are living in the past so what. Look at what we have now a dollar that don't buy crap and parks that cost you a weeks salary. I'll take a piece of the past any day.

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13FrmrCnfldRes(3 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

As a woman I won't give my exact age, but I am in my mid-30's. I have been to Idora. I have been to the park and I do remember it. But, I don't stay in the past like some. I have moved on just as the park has. If it were in the cards, the park would still be around. But, guess what folks, it isn't. It will never come back. Just keep in the reality folks.

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14Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

We sometimes think about the the past because, for all of us, the past is a known quantity. Be it good or bad, we lived it, and it is there that we can and do return whenever we choose to. The past has shaped our present, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. It is what we take from the past that makes the difference.
If we want to remember the good times, we have every right to and no one can say or take that right away from us. So if you don't like it, don't comment!
I feel bad for you if you don't at times like thinking about the past. There really is no harm in that, is there? It has nothing to do about the present does it? People are just so shallow.

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15FrmrCnfldRes(3 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

I'm not shallow, but memories from places 25 years ago do nothing for me now. You can go make memories with your family elsewhere NOW. Can you take your kids or grandkids to Idora anymore and share what you had? No.

You can certainly take them places and share what you have around you NOW, can't you?

As someone who no longer lives in the Valley because it's so depressed and people are obsessed with old things that don't even exist anymore I have moved on and so should you.

If you want to bring back Idora, put up some serious money and re-open it. Otherwise, move on. Simple as that.

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16Lifes2Short(3877 comments)posted 4 years, 1 month ago

"I'm not shallow, but memories from places 25 years ago do nothing for me now."

Did I call you shallow??? So you have no memories about growing up or doing anything with your parents or family? Going places and such. Wow thats sad.

"You can certainly take them places and share what you have around you NOW, can't you?"

I do take them places NOW and I'm in the present and we are making memories for a lifetime NOW so when one day when I'm no longer here they can remember the good times in life when there down some day in the future .

"As someone who no longer lives in the Valley because it's so depressed and people are obsessed with old things that don't even exist anymore I have moved on and so should you."

And where is this paradise your reside in that people don't talk about the past and jobs galore and no crime? And who is obsessed about old things? Because someone likes to reminisce about something there obsessed? Interesting.

"If you want to bring back Idora, put up some serious money and re-open it." Otherwise, move on. Simple as that.

Did I say I wanted to bring back Idora Park? Not sure where you get that misinformation from or maybe you don't comprehend what you read.

"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present." ~Golda Meir

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