Revamped amusement park off and running

Manager upgrading former raceway
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Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Isaac Rouse, left, 12, and Dereck Kaster, 10, race on the figure eight racetrack at Xceleration Amusement Park during its grand opening celebration Friday.

Steve Kastning hopes his revitalization of an old amusement park can help it live up to its name.

Xceleration Amusement Park opened Friday and will be open until Oct. 30, before closing for the winter. Kastning is managing the facility, owned by Shawano Motorsports, through his company, Hard Core Promotions, LLC.

Kastning wants to make it clear that the park, located at N5901 County Road BE in Wescott, is no longer owned and operated by any affiliate of the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology. Formerly the USA International Raceway, the facility was sold for $2 million in a foreclosure sale in October 2012.

Kastning said his family and close friends are running the facility, which is open mainly on weekends.

“I’m local and from the area. I’ve been a patron of the amusement park in the past,” said Kastning, who lives near Legend Lake.

Although there is still work to be done, a number of attractions in Xceleration are open for business. There are four go-cart racetracks and an 18-hole miniature golf course ready to roll, and work is being done on a bumper boats ride and an “action-adventure” bounce house, Kastning said.

He hasn’t had a chance to try the golf course himself but has “been told that it’s very challenging,” he said.

Kastning has been more focused on restoring the facility this year, which took longer than he expected. He knew he had to open this week, as the Shawano County Fair takes center stage next week and starting after that would be fruitless, he said.

“I couldn’t be ready any earlier than this,” Kastning said.

There is also a concession stand where patrons can enjoy simple snacks, such as soft-serve ice cream, as well as filling meals such as burgers and brats, Kastning said.

Kastning is planning to make Xceleration even bigger and better next year. He is also hoping to end 2013 with a bang by planning some Halloween activities, including a makeshift pumpkin patch and an enchanted golf course.

Kastning is confident Xceleration will thrive. He is working with the Shawano Country Chamber of Commerce and Shawano businesses on cross-promotion.

“We’ve got a vibrant tourism season here in Shawano,” Kastning said.

Mike Schuler, Wescott Town Board chairman, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that he is glad to see the facility is in use again.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Schuler said. “It went dormant for a while, but it looks like (Kastning) has a good set-up and is working very hard to get it up and running. Any time we can get a business going in Wescott, we’re happy.”

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