For all of its bluster and bikers and bling in the summertime, Maggie Valley can be one sleepy little town in the winter.
Traditionally, many businesses in the tiny settlement close during the off-season, a habit no doubt acquired during the heyday of Ghost Town in the Sky, the mountaintop amusement park that since 1965 closed every winter as well, until it closed for good a few years ago.
Opened atop Buck Mountain in 1961, Wild West-themed Ghost Town in the Sky used to draw as many as 600,000 visitors a year to Maggie Valley, but after a combination of maladministration, mechanical difficulties and even a landslide, the park began opening intermittently, and then not at all, leaving a gaping hole in the local tourism economy.
Mike Withers loved Ghost Town in the Sky so much that in Spring 2015 at the age of 72, he still held out hope that the troubled amusement park would reopen for the summer.
After attempting to revamp the mountaintop amusement park for several years, Alaska Presley has decided to sell Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley.
Alaska Presley has had plenty of good intentions and ideas for Ghost Town in the Sky since she bought the rundown amusement park out of foreclosure in 2012.
Ghost Town in the Sky will no longer be a western-themed amusement park come next summer, according to a recent announcement.
Alaska Presley has talked for years about her vision of having the tallest cross in the western hemisphere placed on top of her Buck Mountain property in Maggie Valley, but now it seems that plan will not come to fruition any time soon.
Despite aiming for a July opening, Ghost Town in the Sky will stay closed for the entire 2015 season.
Illuminated neon lettering indicated full occupancy on many of the hotels in Maggie Valley during the Fourth of July weekend.
SEE ALSO: Ghost Town will remain closed for 2015
“No Vacancy” signs translate into dollar signs for accommodation owners as well as all the other businesses in the valley. Despite Ghost Town in the Sky not opening this year, Soco Road traffic was bumper to bumper, every parking lot was packed and tourists lined the sidewalks on Saturday evening waiting for the fireworks to begin.
The clock is ticking for Ghost Town in the Sky entertainment park in Maggie Valley to get its humble trio of kiddie rides inspected and permitted before its target opening day of July 2.