Cape Gazette


Home-grown fun along The Boardwalk

Funland: Iconic place for memories
By Ron MacArthur | Sep 01, 2013
Photo by: Ron MacArthur Young riders take scream with joy on the Free Fall, one of the thrill rides in the Funland complex.

Another season of fun is nearing an end; Funland in Rehoboth Beach shuts down its 51st season on Sunday, Sept. 9.

The history of Funland is well documented. The family business dates back to the spring of 1962, which also happens to be another time of historic significance in the resort area – The Storm of '62. In fact, the Fasnacht's purchase of the Funland property and the timing of the horrific March storm coincided; they were just about a week apart.

Brothers Al and Don Fasnacht already owned a small park near Harrisburg, Pa., and were vacationing at the Delaware beaches. They stopped into the Sport Center, which the Dentino family had owned since the 1930s. It wasn't long before talk of selling the property surfaced.

Over the years, the family expanded the park, adding rides and games, and buying adjoining properties. Between the two brothers, there are now five children and four grandchildren who are directly involved with the business.

Today, more than two dozen members of the Fasnacht, Henschke, Curry, Ginder and Darr families are involved in the operation of Funland. Each summer, Funland hires more than 100 high school and college students, including about 30 foreign workers.

What hasn't changed over the years is the family's commitment to safe, inexpensive family fun. Tickets cost 35 cents, a mere 25-cent increase from five decades ago. The well-known green tickets are also good for life.

Ian Curry, director of operations, said it's important that children leave with a smile on their face, wanting to come back. "When someone wins a prize, we make a big deal out of it," he said.

"Funland still offers old-fashioned fun at affordable prices," he added.

The park features 19 rides for all ages and such iconic games as Skee Ball and Whack-A-Mole. People travel from near and far to ride in the Haunted Mansion. Some of the most popular rides – including the boats and fire engines – date back to the start of Funland.

Funland was closed Aug. 20 for family members and staff to attend a celebration of life for matriarch Jean Fasnacht in Hershey, Pa., who passed away Aug. 11. "We were all reminded just how much a part of Rehoboth Beach Funland is," Curry said.

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The Paratrooper is a blur of color in this time exposure photograph. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Each morning dozens of boxes of stuffed animals are moved from storage to fill machines. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
In his daily routine, Randy Curry, ride maintenance director, checks light bulbs on the children's swings. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Brad Ginder, midway games manager, checks out the Skee Ball games before a busy day of action. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Daily maintenance and cleaning takes place before Funland opens its doors to the public. Daria Koza is busy cleaning one of the many challenging cranes.
Office coordinator Cindy Fasnacht helps out by stocking prizes in Funland's ticket redemption center. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Neil Fasnacht, games and plush animals director, changes the prize display at the goblet toss. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Re-supplying tickets is also a daily job. Craig Fasnacht, electronics specialist, puts a new roll in a machine. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Ian Curry, operations director, starts the morning by checking out the popular children's boats. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Skee Ball lines are usually long most nights at Funland. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Elisabeth Ginder, office administrator, helps sort stuffed animals before the amusement park opens. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Lauren Fasnacht, a graphic designer for Funland, restocks pandas at the Skatterball game. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Food and beverage director Mark Henschke makes sure the food cart is well stocked for the day. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
It's always busy first thing in the morning before Funland opens. Lisa Ginder sorts through prizes to be displayed during the day at the goblet toss. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
He's not a long-time employee, but a prop for Funland's Haunted Mansion. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Taking a ride on the Funland carousel is a long-standing Rehoboth Beach tradition. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The biggest thrill ride of all is the Superflip, as it spins and flips its riders. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Not everyone comes to the ticket redemption center with this many tickets. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Competing in the horse derby, along The Boardwalk, is one of Funland's main attractions. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Funland's Stephanie Mullen offers a winner a choice of prizes after winning a horse race. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Each day and night hundreds stop by and try their luck at Funland's numerous games. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Sophie Callander keeps a supply of plastic balls ready at the goblet toss. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Paratrooper runs non-stop every night. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Funland thrives on tradition as one of the best known spots in the Sussex resort area. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
The Rehoboth Beach night is filled with colors and sounds from Funland every night during the summer season. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Funland offers rides for all ages on its prime location along The Boardwalk. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Beth and Adin Chambers have lots of fun on the Superflip, one of 19 rides at Funland. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
Melanie Krutz, Zach Royal and Yuhan Wang keep an eye on action taking place at the Frog Bog. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)
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