Savannah Crisp’s Generational Bond With Beech Bend Amusement Park

by | May 2024

AS YOU swing onto Beech Bend Park Road on any given summer day, the sounds of kids laughing and screaming with excitement hit you right away. It feels like stepping into a live cartoon with roller coasters rattling and carousel tunes floating around. Everywhere you look, bright balloons dance against the blue sky, and the smells of popcorn and cotton candy are in the air, pulling you right into the fun. 

You are looking at Beech Bend — a place not just for rides and games but of generational memories. For Savannah Crisp, the park’s human resource manager, this small, intimate amusement park is more than just a workplace; it’s a part of her family history. 

“My parents were here as kids; my grandmother was here as a kid,” Savannah recalled with a nostalgic tone. 

Last summer, she brought her grandmother back to the park. 

“Walking around with her, hearing her talk about her time here in the ‘50s and ‘60s — it gave me chills.” 

This connection to the past is what makes Beech Bend a special place for many locals and visitors alike. Open since the 1890s, originally as a beach area on a campground by the river, it has evolved through family ownership and expansions. Today, it includes a variety of attractions, such as an amusement and water park, racetrack, campground, and multiple kiddie ride areas. 

Savannah, who grew up in nearby Franklin and has been in Bowling Green since 2018, has worked at the park for four seasons. She speaks fondly of her role in bringing people together for summer fun. 

“I absolutely enjoy it. People come here to get away from their daily life,” she said. “It’s nice to see people with smiles on their faces, having a good time and letting go.” 

Families from all around the region travel to experience the clanking of roller coaster tracks and the whimsical music of carousel rides. 

“Most of our season pass holders are from Bowling Green, but we also have a lot from Tennessee, especially the Nashville area,” Savannah pointed out. 

The park’s appeal stretches beyond the local community, attracting those looking for a weekend getaway or a brief vacation. The park’s charm lies not just in its thrilling rides or the splashy fun of its water park but in its ability to maintain a personal touch in a world dominated by larger, more commercial amusement parks. 

“It’s a family park, a small park,” Savannah explained. “It’s more of an intimate setting rather than some of the big parks that surround us.”

This intimacy is part of what draws visitors back year after year. Beech Bend’s focus on family-friendly experiences — with areas specifically designed for younger children who aren’t yet ready for the big coasters — ensures that there’s something for everyone. But it’s not just about the rides. The park operates as a family-owned business, something that Savannah is particularly proud of. 

“We’re still a family-operated, small business,” she said. “There’s no type of corporation or anything like that.” 

This small-business ethos contributes to the park’s community-focused nature, putting money back into the community and maintaining a personal connection with its visitors. The park also plays a significant role in local tourism, with its campground providing a place for travelers to stay while exploring Bowling Green. 

“With having the campground here, we’ve got a lot of people traveling, staying for a week or a weekend, and then spending a few days with us,” Savannah shared. 

For Savannah, working at Beech Bend is more than just a job; it’s a way to continue a tradition that her family has been part of for generations. 

“It’s amazing to be a part of something that my family has been coming to since they were kids,” she reflected. “To now be in a higher position here, it’s really special.” 

At the top of the roller coaster, there’s a brief, quiet pause right before the big drop. At that moment, Savannah felt her heart pounding just like her grandmother’s did 60 years ago. It’s a quick second where anticipation builds, tying together their two experiences across the decades. Then, with a rush, the coaster plunges down, and the silence breaks into screams of excitement.

As Beech Bend prepares for another busy season, with an expected 1 million visitors over the season, the sense of anticipation is clear. Season passes are already selling well, with two visits enough to cover the cost of a pass — adding to the park’s value and appeal.

In a world that moves fast and where change is constant, Beech Bend Amusement Park offers a slice of nostalgia, a touch of excitement, and a chance to create new memories while recalling the old. 

As Savannah puts it, “It’s special — knowing that this place has been around since our grandparents were little kids.”

Beech Bend continues to be a beloved spot for both locals and visitors. It’s where past and present meet, creating joyful memories spanning generations. GN 

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