By Celeste Benzschawel
Denver Film’s annual, adults-only Summer Scream fundraiser is returning to Lakeside Amusement Park on Aug. 25.
Organizers said they are excited to celebrate Summer Scream’s 10th anniversary after a two-year hiatus with unlimited rides, night-long open bars, live music by DJ Bella Scratch, and an immersive experience exploring Lakeside’s rich history.
And there’s plenty to explore. The park opened in 1908 and has only changed hands twice. Current owner, Rhoda Krasner, took over after her father in 1965, who acquired ownership in 1935. Altogether, Lakeside has been with the Krasner family for nearly 90 years.
“You’ll get that full trip through the decades as you go through this immersive experience,” said Denver Film CEO Kevin Smith.
The immersive experience is the combined work of creators Andrew Novick and Chris Getzen, who’ve worked together before, and separately, on various projects around the city. A popular project they did together was an outdoor, historical puzzle hunt around the city during the pandemic.
Summer Scream’s installation will span the entire park. While curators aren’t giving specifics about what the experience will include, they’re excited to showcase Lakeside’s history through iconic elements that currently exist in the park, as well as artifacts “not seen for generations,” some of which are pieces from its original opening.
“One of the joys of Summer Scream is that we like to keep some of the surprise, so it’s really an experience that you have to be there for,” Smith said.
While amusement parks are about as interactive as you can get, Novick shared that the immersive experience will also include a lot of interaction with people as they’re waiting for drinks or rides.
“The human element of this is going to be really big. Usually if you make some kind of immersive event, and you just have some kind of a black box, you have to figure out a lot of the environment to put someone into a unique environment,” Novick said. “Lakeside is a unique environment, so we don’t have to create the environment, but we’re activating it with some technology and mostly this human element, people that folks will interact with.”
They’ve also created a sort of economy where attendees might “pick things up along the way that might be worth something,” Novick said.
That’s a mystery you’ll have to attend to find out about. Novick’s favorite part of this experience was getting to learn about the history of Lakeside and getting to work with the Krasner family. As a Denver native, Novick grew up going to Lakeside as a kid and then began enjoying it even more as an adult. He said he’s also looking forward to watching all of the work they’ve done unfold.
“I hope people come for the whole thing,” Novick said. “We have different activities happening. Some are early while it’s light out and some are later. It will be really fun and cool to see people’s reactions and hear the feedback.”
Smith is excited to see everyone back at the park celebrating Denver Film and Lakeside. It’s a great way to cap off the summer and support two historic Denver organizations, he said.
“Film is so centered around a lot of escapism and being able to transform your current experience at times, and so this event, I think, really exemplifies that to the highest level,” Smith said.
Summer Scream will take place 6-11 p.m. Aug. 25 at the historic Lakeside Amusement Park, 4601 Sheridan Blvd. Tickets for the age 21-plus, end-of-summer event are on sale at denverfilm.org.