Allen and Don Fasnacht, their wives Jean and Dee, and their parents Al and Sis visited the place that was to become Funland during a trip to the Delaware seashore in August of 1961.
At the time, the family was operating a small “picnic park” near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, called Willow Mill Park. Being the park people that they were, they visited the Rehoboth Beach Sports Center, as it was called when the Dentino family owned it. While they were talking about the ins and outs of the park business with Mr Dentino, he asked if they might be interested in buying the Sports Center. Yeah right, was the thought not spoken, but that was going through the Fasnachts’ minds. Mr. Dentino affirmed that he was indeed interested in selling the business and that the Fasnachts should think about buying it.
Think about it is exactly what the family did when they returned home. It became a recurring topic in the Fasnacht family. They called Mr. Dentino and decided to go through with the purchase.
By March 1962 everything was falling into place, but so was an unusual area of low pressure off the East Coast. This storm never developed into a hurricane but was the lowest pressure system ever recorded for the area. Settlement on the park was to be on March 15, 1962. The Great Atlantic Storm hit on March 6th, devastating the entire eastern seacoast. The Fasnacht family traveled down from Hershey, and the Dentino family came up from Florida to assess the situation. Both families agreed to go ahead with the deal after they worked out an allowance for the damage.
The rest is history: expanding the park here and there, adding rides and games, and buying adjoining properties for the growing family and their children. Between the two brothers, Allen and Don, there are now five children and four grandchildren who are directly involved with the business. They, along with their spouses (and now six great-grandchildren), a brother-in-law, his wife and their family are all continuing that heritage that began half a century ago!
If you would like to hear more about the Funland story check out the links below!
CBS Sunday Morning: “Old-Fashion Fun: Funland”
Content Delaware Documentary: “Nothing Beats Fun: The Funland Story!”.
The Cape Gazette also featured a Funland Retrospective which marked our 50th year of fun at the Rehoboth seashore.