WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – It may be red and taste like tomatoes but hardcore ketchup fans at Kennywood quickly figured out it wasn’t Heinz. “It doesn’t taste as good, its weird,” said one young connoisseur.
Cash Pcola heard about the switch on social media, “I went to Giant Eagle on the way here and picked up a bottle. It was worth the drive.”
While the decision was made at the corporate level to move all of the Palace Entertainment parks to Hunts Ketchup, it was the local Kennywood employees who have been hearing about it. The Ketchup social media storm has flowed over Kennywood as patrons made it clear the issue runs deeper than the bottom of the bottle. It’s also about community pride and identity.
Patty Wolf from South Park says, “We’re Pittsburghers. It’s what we do, it’s the ketchup that we eat.”
Holding his Potato Patch Fries Mark Cripe explains that Heinz, “Is part of our history and we need to keep what little we have.”
Kennywood Director of Marketing and Sales Chris Salerno says, “We do get it, we understand it’s important and at the end of the day those are the factors we take a look at.”
While Heinz Ketchup has been available at the Swinnery and on the tables of Johnny Rockets Kennywood has decided to return all of the park to a Heinz Red Zone. Salerno says, “I talked to our food and beverage director and he’s hoping to have it in place for the weekend.”
Reactions from those in the park ranged from “Thank Goodness,” “Fantastic!” “Welcome Back then,” and “Oh Thank God!”
Salerno says, “We did listen. It took a little while to make the change and in some respects, hindsight is 20/20. But at the end of the day, I think we got it right and its best for our park and its best for our guest.”
Heinz will also be flowing again, albeit slowly, at Idlewild and Sandcastle.
Kennywood hopes the decision will put its condiment issues behind them and allow the park to focus fan excitement on the looming opening of Steelers Country and its super coaster.
The last pieces of track are expected to go into place this week. Testing and training will follow with an opening sometime this summer.