Since opening in 1962, Funland has been the amusement park that vacationers love to visit and that locals often revisit to create unforgettable summer memories. Such memories can have a lasting impact, especially on an impressionable mind. Chris Lindsley, 54, a Pennsylvania native whose family vacationed in Rehoboth Beach and made frequent visits to Funland, has written and published a book about the amusement park that still holds a special place in his memories.
Lindsley’s book, “Land of Fun: The Story of an Amusement Park for the Ages,” is a 143-page book that tells the origins and history of Funland, and also offers personal accounts from Lindsley as well as former employees of the park, patrons, locals and others with an interest in Funland.
“It’s not a history from 1962 to 2019,” Lindsley said. “I tell a bunch of stories that I find interesting, and I think others will, too. Each chapter I end with personal stories from locals on why the park is interesting to them.”
Lindsley, who worked at Funland during the summer from 1980 to 1985, has always had a desire to write a book. “For a long time, I’ve thought about writing a book. So, after my children left to go to college I became more serious about writing,” he said. Lindsley then went to the owner of Funland, Al Fasnacht, his former boss, and laid out the idea for the book. “He wasn’t all that interested in the publicity of the book,” Lindsley said, “but he said, ‘If it’s important to you then I support it.’”
When discussing the origins of the park with Fasnacht, Lindsley discovered something that interested him. “When Al and his father were talking with the owner of Sports Center, the original park, they had agreed to purchase it.
“However, a week before they were to finalize the deal, a nor’easter came and ruined most of the Boardwalk,” Lindsley said. The owner told Al and his father that they could back out if they wanted, but they decided they still wanted to purchase the park. “It’s interesting that it almost didn’t happen before it even started,” Lindsley said.
It took Lindsley roughly two years to complete the book from the time he decided to start writing. “I have a full-time job,” Lindsley said. “This was a nighttime and weekend hobby. The first six or so months I was interviewing people - the Fasnacht family, locals, employees, pretty much anyone interested in Funland. The actual writing took about a year.”
However, he found difficulties when it came to publishing the book. “When I was initially looking for a publisher, it was very difficult to find one because my book is very unique,” Lindsley said. “Most books cater to everyone, but my book has the unusual circumstance that my core audience is in one area. I decided to take a self-publishing course and found that it would be a lot easier to do it myself.”
As for the book designs and printing, Lindsley hired a designer and a local printer to design and print the book, which turned out to be a less expensive way to go than a publisher.
“Land of Fun: The Story of an Amusement Park for the Ages,” went on sale April 16. It can be found at www.funlandrehoboth.com and in person, as well as at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.