Today Josh and I heard that Camp Snoopy, the huge amusement park in the middle of the Mall of America, is closing. The Mall of America is one of the reasons people know Minneapolis exists at all, really, and Camp Snoopy was a big draw once inside the mall.
Anyway, they're not closing the park altogether, but it'll no longer be called Camp Snoopy and all the Snoopy stuff will be taken out. It'll be renamed The Park at Mall of America (yay for the generic name) and there will still be rides, etc., but I do think the spirit of the whole thing will change.
Camp Snoopy--who cares, though, right? Sure, but there is that one memory.
Camp Snoopy used to host this night once a year called Camp Out where the place got rented out for the entire night, from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. (or something like that) and for that night the park was set aside for gay and lesbian kids from ages 16 to 21. My boyfriend and I heard about Camp Out and bought tickets, deciding that it'd be fun to go, even if only just for the kitsch value of the whole thing.
It turned out to be kind of more than that, though. I went with my guy, whom I was totally smitten with (we were together for several years) and we spent the night holding hands in the park, riding the ferris wheel and twirly rides and the roller coaster. The most amazing part of it, though, was that for that night I felt like a normal teenager, out for the night with my boyfriend, enjoying some lame carnival. But the point was that it was our lame carnival, where we could hold hands and kiss on the ferris wheel and laugh and eat cotton candy and curl up on a park bench and it was all okay and normal and good.
So, Camp Snoopy, that's what I remember of you. Sure, you're tacky. Sure, you're a tourist trap. But you're also the place where I was very seventeen, and I was very in love with a boy who looked at me in a way that I haven't been looked at since.
For that, Camp Snoopy, I say thanks, and farewell.