Wild West City, the Western theme park in Stanhope, is marking 60 seasons of circling the wagons this summer. Enticements like free admission days for anyone born in 1957—the opening year—are planned through Columbus Day.
The biggest celebration will take place July 29, when Floyd Vivino, aka Uncle Floyd, straps on his spurs for a live show, including interviews with longtime cowboys and historical Wild West personas—like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday—plus living-history reenactors. The following day—Pop Culture Fun Day—features highfalutin’ non-Western vehicles like the Batmobile, the Scooby Doo van and the Back to the Future DeLorean, plus an appearance by actor Larry Storch, the bumbling Corporal Randolph Agarn from old-school TV’s F Troop.
All that is in addition to the stagecoach holdup , the barnyard zoo and the park’s 22 other daily live-action attractions.
Mary Benson, a park manager, expects the usual crowd of parents, grandparents and children ages 4 to 12 for the festivities. “It’s not just little boys,” she says. “We get cowgirls in pink hats and boots and people who don’t know anything about the Wild West. And of course we get American-history buffs.” Pony and train rides add to the appeal. So does the fresh air in the recreated, 20-acre frontier town.
Benson, of Byram Township, likes knowing she’s helped build a lasting attraction. Her father bought the place in 1963, and her brother, Michael Stabile, is now the owner. “Not too many businesses have been in existence that long,” she says. “It speaks to our tenacity.”
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