Owner David Dean looks back on 50 seasons at Joyland

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) — Many companies have struggled over the past two years, including a Lubbock favorite, but now Joyland is celebrating its 50th season.

“It’s fun, it’s about family fun and fun with friends – and rides and games and fresh food and creating really cool memories and keeping them over the years. years,” said Joyland owner David Dean.

Keeping that fun going for 50 seasons is really important to Dean. Her parents were friends with the owners of the Wonderland amusement park in Amarillo. This sparked the future career of the family.

“And that was my first job. I grew up there, I probably got the passion for the industry there,” Dean said.

When his parents moved to Hub City, they bought the park in 1973. It was originally called Mackenzie Park Playground. Dean took over the business after his parents died, but it’s more than a business to him.

“We still go to the cemetery and talk to them about every month about ‘Oh, business does this and that,’ you know, and talk about it as a family,” Dean said.

It started with 13 rides and now the park has over 30.

“There wasn’t much here when we arrived. Just a few kiddie rides and the tilt-a-whirl and the scrambler and that sort of thing. There were different bumper cars, different trains. Yeah, we’ve changed it a lot over the years,” Dean said.

Now Dean shares the business with his wife as she takes care of the office side.

Joyland is fun for people of all ages and Dean has seen entire generations grow up at the park.

“People will come and say, ‘oh yeah,’ and they’ll be in their 70s, ‘Oh, I came here as a kid and brought my kids, now I bring my grandkids, and I ‘bring my great-grandchildren,’ Dean said.

Dean says this park wouldn’t be open without the continued love of the community.

“They believed in us, they helped us, and then they showed up when we were able to reopen and that’s really what saved us,” Dean said.

Through the pandemic, floods and storm damage, it has never been easy. Dean says the memories made there are what makes it worth it.

“A lot of days are what make you get up in the morning and be ready to work hard and go all day and late into the night,” Dean said.

Dean says Joyland is a family business which only adds to what the amusement park is all about.

He hopes to see new and old faces at the park Thursday night for Joyland’s birthday.

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