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Kennywood now open daily

READY SOON — This rendering shows what the Kangaroo ride will like when it debuts. -- Contributed

WEST MIFFLIN, Pa. — Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us, and with it, two long-awaited returns for Kennywood fans: The second annual Bites and Pints Food & Drink Festival, and the opening of the reborn Kangaroo ride.

Pittsburgh’s thrills and entertainment destination begins its daily operating schedule today, with the festival starting the same afternoon. Guests can taste and sip their way around the world without leaving Kennywood’s Lagoon area, with eight different locations featuring internationally themed cuisines available to sample every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 26.

New flavors this year include Polish and Greek booths, where you’ll find local favorites like pierogis and gyros. Kennywood has again partnered with one of Pittsburgh’s top chefs, Brian Pekarcik, to bring back favorite items from last year’s first festival as well as new bites and specialty drinks from pints to wine and cocktails. Start at the Caribbean booth for new fried plantains with salsa verde and lime crema, then head to the Italian booth for the new arancini (fried risotto balls with romesco and truffles.) Or, stick with German choices and grab a new pork schnitzel slider (pork fritter, fried red onion and spicy mustard sauce), followed by a Black Forest cupcake. Plus, the newly remodeled Kennywood Beer Garden is now an official festival destination.

Appetites for vintage family fun will also be satisfied very soon: The one-of-a-kind Kangaroo ride continues bouncing closer and closer to its official return. Fresh off an extensive modernization effort to restore the iconic attraction, Kangaroo pops like never before with stunning, rainbow-colored ride cars and a massive backdrop fitted with “jumping” kangaroo lights that will brighten up the midway area for years to come. Projected to debut over the holiday weekend, season passholders will get first-in-line access to ride the Kangaroo on its opening day, with exclusive ride time for several hours before the attraction opens to the general public. Kangaroo’s official opening date will be announced as soon as it is finalized, with passholders receiving communications on their ERT directly. Be sure to watch the Kennywood social media channels for information.

“Kangaroo is the centerpiece of the major makeover we’ve done at Kennywood to bring new life to the park,” said Mark Pauls, general manage of Kennywood and Sandcastle. “With Kangaroo hopping and the great tastes, treats and live entertainment of Bites and Pints, Kennywood is the place to be all summer long.”

Exclusively available through Memorial Day, Kennywood offers a buy-one, get-one 50 percent off promotion on single-day tickets. Tickets purchased through this offer can be redeemed any day through June 26. The best value to visit Kennywood lies with a season pass, with Memorial Day marking the last chance to take advantage of four-payment plans. The platinum Ppass provides access to all three great Pittsburgh parks, with Idlewild offering extra family entertainment Saturday through Monday, including balloon and caricature artists, face painters and a live deejay at SoakZone. Season passholders also get early access into SoakZone throughout the holiday weekend.

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