Last night's Summer Scream at Lakeside was like a weird childhood fantasy come true

Emily Smith and Allen Frierson take a ride on the Matterhorn.
Emily Smith and Allen Frierson take a ride on the Matterhorn.

Getting to go to an amusement park when it has been closed to the general public is akin to the childhood fantasy I used to have about being locked in a department store after it was closed -- you know, Mannequin-style. There are no adults around to tell you what you can and can't do, rides are open-season and there is the impending feeling of awesome doom for that moment when you might get caught. Last night's Summer Scream at Lakeside, a private party for ticket-holders and members of Denver Film Center's Reel Social Club that took over the over one-hundred year old amusement park, felt almost that cool.

(Photos by Stephen Cummings.)

The thing is though, for an avid Lakeside goer, there aren't usually long lines for the park's awesome roller coaster or Wild Chipmunk or Hurricane anyway. But after running into Karla Rodiquez, the Film Society's Director of Social Media, and chatting a bit, she made an important point: A lot of the people who came down to the park last night may have never been to Lakeside before.

Having a good time on the Scrambler: Katie Guerttman and Alex Bieling.
Having a good time on the Scrambler: Katie Guerttman and Alex Bieling.

For a Lakeside newbie, last night was probably even more awesome. The park wore a fresh coat of paint, all the neon lights were in full effect and the lines really were nothing more than a ten-minute wait. The Film Society also rolled out and strategically-placed beer stands around the park as promised, and those were happily utilized. The Central Park area of Lakeside was the hottest spot, where several DJs spun and gathered crowds of dancers throughout the night.

The music, to me, was a little overwhelming at times -- for some reason, hearing Miike Snow's "Animal" blaring from a PA while my small group of friends waited for that romantic little end-of-the-night train ride around the lake was a vibe-killer. But if that was the worst part, the Summer Scream was by all means a success, and the park looked and felt better than it has in years.

Rodriquez also remarked that it was rad to see adults actually running between ride lines, giddy to hop from one rattling car or ship or spinning seat to the next. Reel Social Club hopes to make the Summer Scream a yearly event, so if you didn't get a chance to visit Lakeside and feel the VIP-ishness of the free-for-all, you may get a chance next summer.

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