Ghost Town raises money for schools with appreciation day
While the intermittent rain on Saturday might have kept some away, there was still a small but steady crowd of people enjoying the food, music and of course, the zip line during Haywood County Appreciation Day at Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley.
In an effort to bring the community in to enjoy Ghost Town, which reopened July 4, and raise money for the Haywood County Schools Foundation, the attraction’s new owner Alaska Presley hosted the event.
“I just thought it would be good to get the community together with this and maybe, hopefully make some good money for the children,” Presley said.
All of the proceeds from the day were donated to the schools foundation, which provides assistance to local families, scholarships and general aid to the school community.
Presley said she was happy with the turnout, and given the bad weather that morning, the crowd was better than she expected.
Since the amusement park reopened, business has been pretty good, she said, with guests enjoying the zip line and the chair lift in particular. At the top of the mountain, the Ghost Town museum is open, along with the shooting gallery and arcade and several of the children’s rides.
But there is more yet to come.
Work has begun on getting the Western town up and running, but the job requires extensive rewiring and will take some time. Presley said she is hoping to have most of the Ghost Town grounds open by this time next year.
She added that the community has been extremely supportive and the state labor department has been very helpful in getting the attraction open again.
“They realize the value of Ghost Town, and they want to see it open and go on,” she said. “I think with God’s will, we’ll have it up and running. It will help our whole community and our whole area.”
For many people at the fundraiser, the event was a reunion and renewal of sorts, highlighting and celebrating the long history of Ghost Town.
“I love it. This is my life,” said Robert Bradley, a.k.a. “The Apache Kid,” who has worked at the park as one of the costumed characters since 1962.
Another character in costume, who wanted to be identified only as “Preacher,” said he was excited to see people enjoying the park again, and he is looking forward to reestablishing the Western shootout performances Ghost Town is known for.
“I’m tickled to death,” Preacher said.
For Vivian Porter the fundraiser was a reminder of the time she spent working at Ghost Town, and she was pleased to spend the day there once again.
“I love it. I love this so much,” she said. “I’m pulling for Alaska. I wish more people had come, but I’m so glad she’s doing something for the county.”
With school starting up again, Ghost Town has reduced its hours and is now only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. However, Presley said the community can “expect more” in the future.