Hersheypark may be closed for the season, but that does not mean work has stopped.
"Wooden repair on the coaster track to coaster train rebuild, to plumbing repairs, to electrical upgrades throughout the complex," said John Hartman, Hersheypark's rides maintenance supervisor. "Safety is the number one priority here at Hersheypark. The best thing on opening day is watching all the smiling faces come through the gate just to have another great day here at the park."
Behind the scenes, there is ride rehab.
"Strip this car down, send the chassis up to the shop," said Charlie Ross, a mechanical supervisor. "They'll check all the weld areas, give it a clean bill of health, then we'll put it back in service."
But not before the rides get a makeover. That is where people like Robert Keller Jr. come in.
"I'm cleaning out the garbage that's back underneath the seats. Get that cleaned out so we can prep the floor and paint that," Keller said.
To get the rides ready, Keller and the other 175 employees will work long hours, but there is rarely a dull moment.
"Oh yeah, look, just what I needed," Keller said as he pulled a child cup out of a kiddie ride car. "Hey look at that, even got a dime. That's my tip for today."
Keller thinks his job is pretty sweet.
"Oh yeah, my grandkids love it. Because they can say their pop-pop works at Hersheypark and paints the rides and they get to come in sometimes," Keller said.
The rides and attractions will be ready for Spring Time in the Park during the weekends of March 29-31, April 6-7, and April 13-14.
The safety precautions, including daily ride inspections, will continue when the summer season begins.
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