Ahoy, Chuckster’s says, come aboard new bumper boats 

  • Chuckster’s owner, Mark Blasko, works on the message board in preparation for the park’s Saturday opening in Chichester on Wednesday. MELISSA CURRAN / Monitor staff

  • A rendering of the planned bumper boat pond at Chuckster's in Chichester. Chuckster’s—COURTESY

  • Chuckster's owner, Mark Blasko, paints a picnic table in preparation for the park's Saturday opening in Chichester on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. MELISSA CURRAN—Monitor staff

  • An example of what Chuckster's new bumper boat pool may look like, which is expected to be open by Memorial Day weekend. Courtesy

  • Chuckster's owner, Mark Blasko, preparing for the park's Saturday opening in Chichester on Wednesday. MELISSA CURRAN / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 4/8/2021 2:44:25 PM

Chuckster’s Family Fun Park, which opens Saturday, will be cooler this year, once its newest addition is in place.

Owner Mark Blasko had been teasing loyal customers recently that something new would open at Chuckster’s, and that became public when Blasko applied to the Chichester Planning Board and was approved to construct a 3,500 square foot bumper boat ride by Memorial Day Weekend.

Blasko said the bumper boat pool will be the final attraction that Chuckster’s needed to align itself with the other major fun parks nationwide, predicting it would emerge as the third most popular attraction, behind mini golf and Go-Karts. The batting cages figure to drop to fourth.

“I have read what is working, and mini golf is king,” Blasko said. “Nothing will pass that in popularity.

Chucksters, located on Route 4 in Chichester, has other locations in Hooksett and Vestal, New York. They feature other adventure activities like climbing walls, ziplines and a ropes course.  Each one has a mini golf hole that is more than 200 feet long, leading to the somewhat disputed claim of “the longest miniature golf hole on the planet.”

The bumper boat ride is vital, Blasko said, because it opens doors for more age groups to participate. For example,  some customers may not want to bungee jump from 18 feet in the air.

“I can not imagine that there are many (features) that are more popular than the boats,” Blasko said. “To enjoy other big attractions, you must be made of rubber or you need to be a kid who likes climbing the wall or jumping. There’s a lot here, but for certain age groups, I don’t see as much for them to do.”

The bumper ride will feature 10 boats, each with a capacity of two children less than 44 inches tall and one adult. Children at least 44 inches tall will have the option to captain their own ship, alone, searching for targets to nail with the water-spraying cannon, attached to the steering wheel. Or a driver can crash into a boat, like bumper cars, while moving at what Blasko said was “walking speed.”

But the cannon, not the contact, is the preferred method of attack.

“The stream of water is always straight,” Blasko said, “so you have to be strategic to get them lined up and spray them.”

Blasko praised the Chichester Planning Board for what he said was a “smooth” process. 

“I went in conceptually a month ago to make sure there were no concerns,” Blasko said. “This is the fourth or fifth time that we needed something, so they knew we always do what we say we will do. The town has been very supportive.”

Selectman Richard Bouchard, who serves as an ex-officio member of the Planning Board, confirmed the harmony between the town and Chuckster’s. 

“He’s definitely been great to work with,” Bouchard said. “And it shows their mindset, that they are looking to add outdoor activities. It will be built by the street and be an eye-catcher for anyone traveling on Route 4.”

In his past life, Blasko managed the ski businesses at Waterville Valley and Gunstock Mountain Resorts, and then he opened an apparel shop in Chichester.

He bought Chuckster’s 15 years ago and has since expanded to 16 attractions.

“I try to add something new each year,” Blasko said. “Now we have all four of the major attractions other parks have.”

In a rare occurrence, all 36 staffers from last season will return this year, making for a smoother transition than usual. Blasko said six to eight employees routinely leave each year, mostly because of college or career internship responsibilities.

Chuckster’s opens this weekend, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 on Sunday. Blasko said he’s installing new greens on the mini golf course.

The bumper boats will be ready for battle on Memorial Day, Blasko said. Bathing suits are fine but not necessary – the boats are built to be used in everyday clothes.

“There won’t be a ton of water,” Blasko said. “But this will be another way to cool off on hot days.”


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