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A Lakeside Adventure

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View a slide show of the entire adventure

While in elementary school in Aurora, kids looked for any little thing to single out a kid and rip them apart over. Kids that got their shoes at Payless, for instance, were ripe for destruction. Only poor kids got shoes at Payless. The ironic thing was that we were all poor and probably got our shoes at Payless.

Finding out that someone went to Lakeside was like the crown jewel for criticism. Why go to Lakeside when you could go to Elich's? You must be broke. Laughing and ostracizing begins. Needless to say, I bought into the social stigma and never went to Lakeside. Even as an adult I thought, "Why the fuck would I ever go to Lakeside?" But somehow, I was talked into it last week. At first I was adamantly against it, then I found out that it only cost $2.50 to get in, cheaper than a tall can. I was sold.

As soon as I got to the front gates, I knew all of my preconceptions were wrong. Frances, the old lady behind the counter, was my kind of gal, telling my date that my fly was down after I had walked away.

I zipped up and we walked down the stairs and everything amazed me. First off, it was clean, spotlessly clean. The last time I was at Elich's, all I could remember was the insatiable need to take a shower as soon as I got home. But at Lakeside, things are different. They actually know what a broom and dust pan are and they use them. The second thing I noticed was the lack of scary clowns running around, I don't know why, but that's what I always imagined, lots of scary clowns.

The neon lights for all of the rides constantly blew my mind, all of them in pristine condition in their original art deco style. For that kind of design to last this long is unheard of these days, and it is splashed all over the park, on almost every ride. It was a typography nerd's dream. The crazy amount of spinning rides was a little too much; after one ride on the Tilt-a Whirl, I was ready to lose it. But because you can pay for rides as you ride them, you don't feel ripped off if you only ride one or two rides.

All in all, it was a magical night of beat expectations. Lakeside has a lot going for it, except maybe a horrible reputation. – Taylor Sullivan

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