Hersheypark's 2012 ride—rumored to be "SkyRush," an Intamin coaster—will be unveiled at 12:12 p.m. in Comet Hollow today. If you can't be there, be sure to follow @InsideHershey on Twitter for live coverage of the event!
There's something for just about everyone on the entertainment schedule this summer in Hershey! Here's a list of the performances and events that have been announced so far:
May 29, 2011 — The Go-Go’s at The Hershey Theatre
June 15, 2011 — Josh Groban at the GIANT Center
June 19, 2011 — Tony Orlando at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre
June 20, 2011 — The Monkees (minus Michael Nesmith) at The Hershey Theatre
June 21, 2011 — WWE Smackdown at the GIANT Center
June 26, 2011 — Tanya Tucker at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre
July 3, 2011 — Cody Simpson at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre
July 3, 2011 — Def Leppard and Heart at Hersheypark Stadium
July 7, 2011 — Keith Urban and Jake Owen at the GIANT Center
July 10, 2011 — Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow at Hersheypark Stadium
July 10, 2011 — Burton Cummings of The Guess Who at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre
July 13, 2011 — Motley Crue and Poison with New York Dolls at Hersheypark Stadium
July 14, 2011 — The Wiggles at the Hershey Theatre
July 17, 2011 — Miranda Cosgrove at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre
July 26, 2011 — Far East Tour, featuring Lil Wayne, Keri Hilson, Lloyd and Rick Ross at The Star Pavilion
July 30, 2011 — New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys with Matthew Morrison at Hersheypark Stadium
July 31, 2011 — Bonnie Dune (featuring Cory Monteith) at the Hersheypark Amphitheatre
August 13, 2011 — The Honda Civic Tour, featuring blink-182 and My Chemical Romance, at The Star Pavilion
August 14, 2011 — Tim McGraw with Luke Bryan and The Band Perry at Hersheypark Stadium
August 15, 2011 — Maroon 5 and Train with Gavin DeGraw at The Star Pavilion
August 16, 2011 — Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger at Hersheypark Stadium
August 18-21, 2011 — Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam at the GIANT Center
August 21, 2011 — Selena Gomez & The Scene with Allstar Weekend at The Star Pavilion
August 24-28, 2011 — Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan at The Hershey Theatre
NOTE: Hersheypark offers a special discounted admission price of just $34.95 to concert goers when using a Park ticket the day before, day of, or the day after the concert. Concertgoers may purchase one Hersheypark ticket during one of the three days. Just present your concert ticket at the Hersheypark Front Gate on one of the three days to receive the discount, or purchase your Hersheypark tickets at Giant Center Box Office when you purchase your concert tickets. Available for summer concerts held at Hersheypark Stadium, Star Pavilion, Giant Center, and Hershey Theatre during the Hersheypark summer public operating season (May-September)
Most summertime visitors to Hershey have one destination in mind: Hersheypark. But there's so much more to Hershey than the amusement park! Here are some tips for making the most of your visit to our community, with a few tips for accommodations, dining and other attractions. To get the latest news and event information about Hershey, follow us on Facebook.
If you want to be pampered on vacation, the Hotel Hershey is the obvious choice. With its acclaimed Chocolate Spa and a recent $75 million dollar expansion (featuring new cottage-style accommodations and a brand-new outdoor pool), the hotel is a destination itself. Room rates during the summer start at $400, but there are often special packages offered and the room rate includes a number of perks, including complimentary admission to the Hershey Gardens and The Hershey Story museum, local shuttle service, access to golf and kids’ activities and more.
The Hershey Lodge offers family rooms starting at $300 in summer, with many of the same perks as the Hotel Hershey, in a slightly less luxurious setting. Hershey bar characters roam the lobby and family-friendly activities abound.
There are plenty of alternative accommodations in the Hershey area, including many newer suite hotels. We like the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott, just a few miles north of Hersheypark on Route 39. Within a half-mile, you’ll also find a Quality Inn & Suites and a Country Inn & Suites. A Hampton Inn & Suites is located on East Chocolate Avenue, and another suite hotel is planned for the downtown.
If you’re not planning to bring the kids, there are some impressive bed & breakfast accommodations in the surrounding area as well. The Annville Inn and The Inn at Westwynd Farm come highly recommended.
Hersheypark Tickets and the Free Preview Evening
If you plan on spending more than two days at Hersheypark, consider a season pass. It will pay for itself —not only does it cover your admission to the park, it also gives you free parking, a 15% discount off food and merchandise in the park and a coupon book with excellent deals (10% off purchases at Hershey’s Chocolate World, for example). If your time is more limited and you've purchased one-day tickets, make sure you get to Hersheypark for the Free Preview Evening : the evening before your full day at the park, you can get in a couple hours before closing for free, and it's well worth the trip. Crowds are lighter, and you have the chance to get a feel for the layout of the park.
Making the Most of Your Day at Hersheypark
If you plan to try the waterpark attractions in the new Boardwalk theme area, a good advice is to wear your swimwear under your clothes and be at the main gate right at opening time (10 a.m.) Then get to the Boardwalk (on the far end of the park, in the shadow of the Ferris Wheel) as fast as you can and send one person to get a big locker there—they go quickly, and they're essential if you want to stow your swimming suits and enjoy the rest of the park after the Boardwalk. Another person should go to the wave pool area and claim lounge chairs for the family—lounge chairs are very hard to come by after 10:30.
Now you can enjoy the park!
If you like big water rides, do the Vortex and the Whirlwind at the Boardwalk first to avoid hour+ waits later in the day. Then enjoy East Coast Waterworks. The wave pool, where your lounge chairs are located, is a fairly central location and a good place to relax with a drink and a snack mid-morning.
By noon, the Boardwalk is elbow-to-elbow people and the rides have long waits. That's a great time to change, stow your swimsuits in your locker and head out to see the rest of the park. The rides around Midway America (just outside The Boardwalk) should have short lines just after noon. If you're getting hungry, a great recommendation is the Sidewinder food court area. There are several good food stands there—a favorite is Mixed Grille, where you can actually find healthy food, and it's made from scratch. But there's a good burger stand, a sausage concession, a smoothie place and an ice cream place there, as well as a Subway, and it's a nice shaded area that tends to stay quiet.
Another tip: Take a break in the heat of the afternoon and head to the adjacent (and air-conditioned) Hershey's Chocolate World. It's just outside the main gate of Hersheypark, but it's easy to get a handstamp for a quick return to the rides. Chocolate World has recently reconfigured almost everything in the building—there’s the chocolate tour ride, a revamped merchandise area, a fairly good 3-D show, a chocolate-tasting experience, the "Factory Works" (kids get to "work" on a Kiss assembly line) and a Create Your Own Chocolate Bar attraction. It's worth spending at least an hour or two here. The milkshakes in the food court area are excellent and there are often new products and other surprises to be found around the central garden area.
Once you've returned to the park, don't forget to take in the shows. It's a nice break from the crowds and the entertainment value is excellent, whether you choose the aquatheater or one of the music/dance productions.
But Wait, There's More...Now How Much Would You Pay?
If you're in Hershey for more than a day and you want to see some other attractions, there are countless options nearby:
Milton S. Hershey was born in Derry Township (today better known as Hershey) on September 13, 1857. He died on October 13, 1945 at the age of 88.
His parents were Henry and Fanny Hershey.
Henry was a farmer and a bit of an inventor, but he never had much success.
Milton’s middle name was Snavely, his mother’s maiden name.
He left school at the age of 14 to start an apprenticeship.
After a failed printing apprenticeship, Milton became an apprentice to a candymaker in Lancaster named Joseph Royer. He learned a great deal from Royer before deciding to set out on his own as a candymaker.
Mr. Hershey’s Early Business Ventures
Mr. Hershey opened his first candy business at the age of 18. This was in Philadelphia, the focal point of the country’s centennial celebration.
He went bankrupt twice—in Philadelphia in 1882 and in New York City in 1886.
He also explored business opportunities in Denver, Chicago and New Orleans, but found nothing satisfactory.
While he was in Denver, he learned the art of adding fresh milk to caramels to make them creamier and chewier.
He returned to Lancaster in 1886 and opened the Lancaster Caramel Company.
He relied on a former employee, William “Lebbie” Lebkicher (who became a trusted friend and advisor), and his Aunt Mattie to give him enough money to buy the necessary supplies.
The caramel that made him famous was called the “Crystal A” caramel.
He bought his first chocolate-making equipment from a German company, the J.M. Lehmann Company, in 1893. He saw the equipment at work at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He was so fascinated by it that he purchased two of the actual pieces of machinery he saw on display at the exposition, and then bought additional equipment directly from the company’s New York office.
He established the Hershey Chocolate Company in 1894 as a subsidiary of the caramel company.
He became the first person in the United States to mass-produce milk chocolate. In late 1900,he introduced the world to his milk chocolate products.
On August 10, 1900, he sold his caramel company for $1 million and relinquished the Lancaster factory, the caramel recipes and the “Crystal A” trademark.
He kept the right to make chocolate and all of his chocolate-making equipment, though, and rented a wing of the caramel factory to continue that venture.
The Famous Chocolate Factory
Mr. Hershey returned to his birthplace to build what would become the largest chocolate factory in the world. He settled in Derry Township because he needed cows for fresh milk, hard-working people and a source of water.
Construction on the factory began on March 2, 1903 and ended in 1905.
The original factory has grown to occupy 2.2 million square feet today. When it was first constructed, the factory covered six acres.
The bushes outside the original factory that spell out “Hershey Cocoa” are red barberry bushes.
There are three chocolate factories in town: the original, a new one on the west side of town (built in 1990) and the Reese’s plant on Chocolate Avenue (built in 1957).
And Speaking of Reese’s...
Harry Burnett Reese, founder of the H.B. Reese Candy Company, was once an employee of the Hershey Chocolate Company. He decided he could make a living by making his own candy.
In 1923 he began making that candy in his basement at night. Peanut butter cups became part of his assortment in 1928. In 1942, due to war rationing, Reese eliminated everything except for peanut butter cups from his product line.
Reese got his chocolate from the Hershey Chocolate Company and always enjoyed a good relationship with the company. All of his peanut butter cups bore the banner, “Made in Chocolate Town—So They Must Be Good.”
Reese died in 1956 and was succeeded by his six sons. In 1963 they sold the company to Hershey Chocolate Corporation.
Today The Hershey Company continues to produce Reese’s peanut butter cups, which have become its most popular candy.
The Town of Hershey
It was important to Mr. Hershey to create a community where his employees could be self-reliant and own their own homes.
In creating “his” company town, Mr. Hershey made provisions for recreation (he provided a park and community center), religion (he donated $20,000 to five congregations), and financial independence (he established the town’s bank).
The official name of the community is Derry Township. It has never been officially incorporated as Hershey.
In the early 1900s, the town held a contest to determine the name the U.S. Postal Service would use. The winning entry was “Hersheykoko,” which got shortened to just “Hershey.” That’s the name the Postal Service has acknowledged since 1906.
About 22,000 people use the services of Derry Township, but only about 9,000 people live in the town itself. The town is 26 square miles.
Those Kiss-Shaped Streetlights
The lights line Chocolate Avenue. There are 107 total—55 wrapped and 52 unwrapped.
In addition, there are eight lights on Park Avenue between Chocolate Avenue and the railroad bridge, plus a few at the entrance to the West Hershey Plant and at the entrances of each of the company’s factories outside the town of Hershey.
The lights were installed in 1963.
They were installed under the direction of then-Hershey Chocolate Corporation President Samuel Hinkle and were nicknamed “Hinkle’s Twinkles.”
The Cuban Connection
Mr. Hershey owned sugar plantations and mills in Cuba from 1916 until 1946.
When they were sold in 1946, the operations included 60,000 acres of land, five raw sugar mills, a peanut oil plant,a henequen plant, four electric plants, and 251 miles of railroad track with sufficient locomotives and cars.
His flagship sugar mill was located at “Central Hershey” in Cuba. The town that was created to support the mill was developed as a model town and featured many of the same types of services that Mr. Hershey had established in “his” town in Pennsylvania.
Profits from the sugar business in Cuba helped sustain the Pennsylvania town during the Great Depression. It was with this money that Mr. Hershey was able to embark on his “Great Building Campaign.
The Chocolate Spa at the Hotel Hershey features Cuban treatments in honor of this part of Mr. Hershey’s story.
Who Was Mrs. Hershey?
Catherine Sweeney, whose nickname was “Kitty,” hailed from Jamestown, New York.
Mr. Hershey met her while he was making a sales call at a candy store in New York.
They were married in the rectory of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York in 1898.
Kitty had a progressive neurological disease that was never fully diagnosed. She died in 1915 at the age of 42.
The Hersheys had only been married for 17 years and did not have any children. Mr. Hershey never remarried.
The Milton Hershey School
Mr. Hershey left almost his entire fortune to fund the Milton Hershey School.
Founded by the Hersheys in 1909 as a home and school for orphan boys, the school today serves both boys and girls from more than 30 states, with 70 percent of the students coming from Pennsylvania.
The school’s guiding legal document, the Deed of Trust, gives priority to children from its home county, Dauphin, and neighboring Lebanon and Lancaster counties, then to children from Pennsylvania. After the priority regions, the school then considers students from across the country. The school currently serves about 1,800 boys and girls in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. The School has more than 8,800 graduates who are productive citizens in cities and towns across the country.
Meals, clothing, medical care, dental care and educational supplies are provided free of charge to enrolled students.
Underclassmen live in family-like environment with a married couple—called “houseparents”—and other children their age in 143 student homes.
Approximately 90 percent of the school’s graduates pursue post-high school education and take advantage of the school’s generous continuing education scholarship to do so.
Before 1951, the School was known as the Hershey Industrial School.
The school’s campus extends over 10,000 acres.
Founders Hall features the second largest unsupported dome in the world. The largest is St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
The home the Hersheys built in town overlooks the original chocolate factory.
High Point features 22 rooms and was constructed for just $53,433. It’s less ornate than some of the homes Mr. Hershey’s executives built for themselves.
After Kitty died, Mr. Hershey moved into a suite of rooms on the second floor of the house and allowed the Country Club he created to use the remainder of the mansion as its clubhouse.
Today High Point is home to the Hershey Trust Company.
Mr. Hershey founded the park as a picnic and pleasure grounds, but today it has evolved into a world-class theme park.
The oldest ride in the park is the Carrousel, which was built in 1919 and installed in Hershey in 1944.
The Comet was built in 1946 and remains in its original location. It’s the park’s oldest roller coaster.
Hersheypark is home to 11 roller coasters, more than can be found at any other park in Pennsylvania.
The year 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of a zoo in Hershey.
The first zookeeper was Franz Zinner, the man who first approached Mr. Hershey about starting a zoo when he learned that the entrepreneur was building a park.
Hershey Zoo started with a colony of prairie dogs and a bear cub. ZooAmerica continues to be home to both of those species.
The Zoo is home to 200 animals from North America. They represent 75 species and live on 11 acres.
Hershey’s Chocolate World
This facility is America’s most visited corporate visitors center. Each year, nearly 3 million people take the free chocolate-making tour here to learn how chocolate goes from bean to bar.
The facility opened in 1973. Since then, more than 75 million visitors have passed through its doors.
Chocolate World is home to the world’s largest selection of Hershey’s products found anywhere.
The Hotel Hershey
During the Great Depression, Mr. Hershey embarked on his “Great Building Campaign” in order to keep townspeople employed. It’s said that more than 600 people worked together to build the Hotel.
The Hotel’s architect, D. Paul Witmer, received specific direction from Mr. Hershey about how to build the Hotel based on his own travel experiences and preferences.
Mr. Hershey is reported to have said that if people dined alone or didn’t tip well, they were put in a corner. He didn’t want any corners in his restaurant; hence, the Hotel’s famed Circular Dining Room is literally shaped like a circle.
The Hotel, which was constructed for about $2 million, celebrated its grand opening on May 26, 1933.
The Spa At The Hotel Hershey
The design is based on that of High Point, the Hersheys’ home.
The Spa opened in 2001; it expanded in 2004, nearly doubling in size from 17,000 square feet to 30,000.
There are now 53 treatment rooms.
The Spa is home to the signature Whipped Cocoa Bath, a rarity in that it’s a patented spa treatment.
The Lodge is the largest private convention facility in Pennsylvania.
The Lodge has hosted two bi-partisan Congressional retreats, in 1997 and 1999.
The Lodge celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2007.
Hershey Country Club
Ben Hogan was the golf professional at Hershey Country Club from 1941 to 1951.
Henry Picard, who personally selected Hogan as his replacement, was the golf pro from 1934 to 1941. Both are members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The fifth hole of the famed West Course features an incredible view of High Point.
The Gardens opened in 1937 and stretch over 23 acres.
There are 275 varieties of roses here on 7,000 bushes.
Kitty’s rose garden from High Point was moved here.
The Theatre was also constructed as part of Mr. Hershey’s “Great Building Campaign.”
It features 1,904 seats.
The Theatre’s fire curtain features a scene of Venice, with its Grand Canal slowly flowing past Doge’s Palace.
Behind the French doors of the Theatre’s front balconies are concealed the more than 4,715 pipes and 25 bells of the historic Aeolian-Skinner organ.
The Bears are the oldest continually operating franchise in the American Hockey League.
The Bears were the 2009 and 2010 Calder Cup champions.
The Bears have won 11 Calder Cup championships, more than any other team in the league.
The Bears were originally called the “B’ars,” but they added the “E” when they were criticized for being too blatantly commercial.
Dwight D. Eisenhower celebrated his 63rd birthday with a birthday party held at Hersheypark Arena on October 13, 1953.
Wilt Chamberlain scored a record 100 points in a single basketball game at Hersheypark Arena on March 2, 1962.
gardens at The Hotel Hershey are a joy to wander around on a sultry
summer evening. Before the Hotel even existed, these gardens were here,
built to beautify the town reservoirs. The reservoirs are still a
highlight of the formal gardens today.
From the plaque at the hotel:
"In 1914, the Hershey Water Company
broke ground for new water reservoirs to serve the growing community.
True to Milton Hershey's style, the reservoirs were landscaped to become
a focal point of a new picnic area, Highland Park, completed in April
1915. The reservoirs, bordered by a concrete balustrade, gazebos and
wooden pergolas, looked like decorative reflecting pools. In fact, the
reservoirs are thirty feet deep and hold one million gallons of water.
"The beds that hold today's formal
gardens were laid out following the construction of the Highland
reservoirs. The grounds were extensively landscaped with flowerbeds and
hundreds of rose bushes cascading down the slopes of Highland Park.
These gardens were restored beginning in the summer of 1990. The present
gazebos were rebuilt, walkways repaired and circulating fountains were
installed in the reservoirs."
The following press release was issued from The Hershey Company this morning:
The Hershey Company today announced that as part of its
strategic supply chain assessment it has reached a tentative labor
agreement with the union representing employees at its 19 East
Avenue and West Hershey facilities located in Hershey,
the agreement is approved by the employees, Hershey's Board of
will be asked to review and approve a significant modernization
to expand the Company's West Hershey manufacturing facility into
the world's largest and most advanced chocolate-making facilities.
Current production in the 19 East Chocolate Avenue plant, as well
portion of the workforce, would be relocated to the West Hershey
facility. Additionally, the company would continue to occupy a
of the older 19 East Chocolate Avenue facility as administrative
As Hershey fans well know, The Hershey Company ceased being a bean-to-bar chocolate company a few years ago: beans are no longer stored in the Hershey cocoa silos, and the scent of chocolate in the air isn't from roasting cocoa beans. Now the company is proposing to shutter the main factory on East Chocolate Avenue, Mr. Hershey's original factory.
UPDATE: This from the Associated Press story on the Hershey news:
Company spokesman Kirk Saville says the changes would mean the loss of
500 to 660 jobs. He says union rejection of the proposal will force
Hershey to consider shifting work to other locations in the United
The Memorial Day weekend has unofficially
started here in Hershey: the traffic is heavy; the rides are running at
Hersheypark; the Rec Center's outdoor pool is filled and ready; and the
hanging baskets and flags are in place on the lampposts downtown.
While you're celebrating, please take a moment to
remember all those who have served our country in the Armed Forces as
well as those currently serving. And consider taking part in the annual parade to honor our nation's heroes, which returns to Hershey this
year after 20 years—the parade will take place on Monday, May 31 at 10:00 a.m.
The parade will begin at the Recreation Center, turn right onto Cocoa
Avenue, turn left onto Elm Avenue, right to Ridge Avenue to Chocolate.
The parade will turn onto Cocoa Avenue and end at the Recreation Center.
The parade will conclude with a special ceremony at the township's War
Memorial at the Recreation Center.
Everyone is invited to march along with Hershey's veterans and community groups. Organizers of the parade are also looking for volunteers this year—if
you'd like to lend a hand on May 31, please contact the Derry Township
Rec Center for details: 533-7138.
The Ringling Bros
and Barnum & Bailey Circus will perform at the GIANT Center
from May 26-31 this year—as usual, over the Memorial Day weekend.
Tickets to the "Funundrum" performances are still available from the GIANT Center
box office, by phone at 717-534-3911.
The troupe's train is
scheduled to arrive in Hershey on Monday, May 24 between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Having waited for the Circus Train to arrive in
Hershey in previous years, I can tell you that the times are always
approximate, and the train is often held up en route by freight traffic
on the line. The train unloads just behind the Hershey post office, and
there is convenient parking in the garage between the post office and
the Hershey Press Building.