Fire in the Hole celebrates its final season at Silver Dollar City

Fire in the Hole celebrates its final season at Silver Dollar City

It is the end of two eras at Silver Dollar City — one for guests who love Fire in the Hole and one for travel writers who have worked with Lisa Rau for 34 years. The popular ride — which opened in 1972 — is celebrating its final season, and Rau is leaving her position as park spokeswoman to accept a similar job with the city of Branson.

“It’s exciting, unlike industry norms when parks often close a ride without notice, that we can celebrate with the millions of people who have enjoyed Fire In The Hole,” Rau says, speaking for the final time for the 1880s theme park. “More than any ride at Silver Dollar City, Fire In The Hole touches more generations and is a tradition with more families — it means something to our guests.”

“More than 25 million guests have been entertained by the Fire In the Hole adventure since the attraction opened a half-century ago,” says Brad Thomas, president of Silver Dollar City Attractions. “Today’s riders include grandparents who remember riding when THEY were kids, and now they share the fun and unique experience with THEIR grandkids!”

The ride’s storyline is modeled after the real-life mining town, Marmaros, that was located atop Marvel Cave and home to residents of the long-ago Ozarks, says a Silver Dollar City press release. The attraction, a novelty when the roller coaster was introduced, has fire-brigade themed trains that twist, turn and drop into a burning town where riders are the volunteer firefighters, saving the citizens and battling the flames before getting soaked themselves.

There is no official word on what is ahead, the press release says, but park leadership promises they are “keenly aware that the iconic ride holds a place in the record books of attractions of the world, and what comes next must carry on the legacy.”

“Custom-built, enclosed roller coasters are an uncommon thing, and I’m grateful that Silver Dollar City is giving guests fair notice to enjoy this classic ride for one final season,” says Duane Marden, the founder of the Roller Coaster Data Base.

“Fire In The Hole is a special ride,” agrees Justin Garvanovic, founder of the European Coaster Club. “As it enters the final season, I feel it should be celebrated for the ground-breaking ride that it is.”

Also scheduled for 2023 is a full slate of festivals:

Street Fest — April 6-30, Street Fest is a kaleidoscope of acrobatic dance, steel drums, juggling and comedy skills, giant topiaries, statues and fountains and unique food like Garlic Shrimp Mac & Cheese, Brisket & Vidalia Onion Sliders, Cobb Salad Shakers and Chocolate Thrill Ride Artisan Cones.

Bluegrass & BBQ — May 4-29, Bluegrass & BBQ includes performers like Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, family bands and newcomers served up alongside a menu of smoked meats and deliciously crafted sauces made by on-park pitmasters.

Summer Celebration — June 6-July 16, the new festival celebrates Fire In The Hole, “The World’s Most Historic Indoor Coaster.” The ride celebration will include a parkwide scavenger hunt and pop-up fun, and the “King of the High Wire,” Nik Wallenda, returns with “Nik Wallenda’s Zirkus.”

Summer Nights — July 15-July 30, the new festival offers all the daytime fun in the moonlight, along with dance parties, fireworks and more.

Southern Gospel Picnic — Aug. 24-Sept. 4 joins Country Music Days Sept. 8-10 to fill the park with music.

Harvest Festival — Sept. 16-Oct. 28, Harvest Festival comes alive with more than 15,000 glowing pumpkins, hundreds of traditional crafters, and fall fun for the whole family.

An Old Time Christmas — Nov. 4-Dec. 30, this festival has been voted No. 1 America’s Best Holiday Theme Park Events by USA TODAY 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards five times.

As for Rau, “after more than three decades proudly representing Silver Dollar City and loving the citizens, the guests and the culture, this is my final interview. I leave for a new position as communications director with the city of Branson with Silver Dollar City joy in my heart — it’s been a great run!”

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