The Tradition of Kennywood

Traditions die hard in western Pennsylvania. While our region is growing and changing daily thanks to an influx of new people and newer technologies, we still hold on to traditions that make us unique.

WTAE Kennywood Day is one of those traditions. For 41 years, moms and dads, sons and daughters, grandparents and grandkids have come to Kennywood to ride the rides, eat the food and spend the day with their familiar faces on channel 4.

I attended my first Kennywood Day 13 years ago – and I have to admit that, at the time, this tradition seemed a little strange. I mean going to an amusement park to sign autographs and ride in a parade seemed kind of hokey to someone who did not grow up on Kennywood.

Now, 13 years later, I see the “Kennywood magic”. The faces of people who come up to you in the autograph booth wanting your autograph but also wanting to meet you. Folks who were born years before you were even born wanting to pose for a picture and tell you the stories of their favorite channel 4 moments. There was a man who had an old WTAE hat covered with Sally Wiggin autographs from years gone by. One woman had autographs from previous Kennywood day with the likes of the late Paul Long. Then, there is the parade where parents are sitting with their children – waiving to you and shouting out “Good Job” or “We Love You” as you drive by in the vintage convertibles.

Kennywood Day is a chance for one generation to spend time with another and pass on a tradition – a tradition that just happens to include channel 4. And for us, we become part of a tradition that began years ago with the likes of Joe DeNardo, Ed Conway and continues with Sally Wiggin and Mike Clark and now has a new generation of talent like Ashley DiParlo and Demetrius Ivory. No matter where you go – or what you do – you will always be part of the WTAE fraternity and a part of precious Kennywood memories for someone.
Maybe WTAE Kennywood Day is not about WTAE. It’s about a tradition 41 years in the making.
WTAE just happens to be connected to that tradition – and when people think of us, they think of Kennywood and they think of the good times and times spent with family. It’s wonderful that WTAE is connected to that memory and that tradition — a tradition that hopefully will continue for another 41 years.
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